News Links – 2020

Miami, Florida, Miami Today, July 1, 2020: Million Trees plans pruned

Million Trees Miami, an initiative funded by Miami-Dade County, has set its sights on establishing a 30% tree canopy in the county through tree giveaways, plantings, grants and special programs directed at shading bus stops and playgrounds. In 2016, the Miami-Dade County Urban Tree Canopy Assessment placed the county’s coverage at 19.9%. However, Gabriela Lopez, community image director for Neat Streets Miami, which oversees Million Trees, said up to 30% of this canopy may have been lost over the past four years due to storms such as Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Dorian. The organization’s original goal, she said, was to plant one million trees in Miami Dade; roughly the number needed to reach the 30% canopy based on 2016 estimates. Now, the goal is to plant as many trees as possible while the county works to update the assessment via satellite imaging and reassess, a project that Ms. Lopez said should be completed by next spring. This percentage, she continued, “is the national standard for a healthy urban environment.” In addition to providing aesthetic benefits, Ms. Lopez said studies have shown that trees provide economic perks. In fact, well-placed trees can raise property values, increase the time and money pedestrians spend at shopping centers, and help residents and businesses save up to 56% on annual air-conditioning costs, according to the US Department of Agriculture Forest Service…

Southern Living, June 30, 2020: Chaste Tree Produces Pretty Lilac Blooms in Summer

The shrubs are blooming and the trees are bursting—you know what time it is. Summertime brings gorgeous flowers, lush leaves, and bright colors in every corner of the garden. Seeing all the vibrant garden changes makes the summer heat almost bearable—almost. This season, a blooming tree with pretty lilac flower spikes has been catching our eyes, and we think it’s a gorgeous planting for Southern gardens. Chaste tree (Vitex agnus-castus) is also known as Texas lilac tree, Vitex, chasteberry, and Monk’s pepper. It’s a great tree for small yards and compact spaces. The multi-trunked tree grows to heights of 10-15 feet tall and tends to spread. It produces small, spiked blue and lavender flowers in summer along with long, fragrant grey-green leaves. During the early hot days of the season, branched panicles emerge. Those are the colorful, easily recognized flower spikes that make chaste tree such a popular planting. Some selections produce pink and white flowers too. It’s a hardy planting that’s drought tolerant and can stand up to the hot Southern climates, but you’ll get the best bloom by providing full sun and regular water in well-drained soil. It’s even hardy enough to plant in coastal conditions. Chaste tree can also withstand garden pests and browsing deer. It does require regular pruning to keep the tree looking its best. After planting, it doesn’t take long for Southern gardeners to declare this tree their favorite summer bloomer in the garden…

Indianapolis, Indiana, WTHR-TV, June 30, 2020: Friends pushing to remove tree blocking stop sign after deadly crash

A group of students in Marion made their voices heard after losing a classmate. Katie Jo Maynus, 18, was a graduate of Oak Hill High School. She was killed in a crash after she went past a stop sign at the intersection of 4th Street and Butler and was hit by a semi. Her friends blame a tree that was blocking the stop sign.”It is dangerous because the trees you can barely see any cars when you cross by until you are right up on them,” said Emily Henry, one of Maynus’ friends. Some of the branches were cut back after the deadly accident and a “Stop Ahead” sign was put up. Even with those changes, the stop sign is still hard to see and Maynus’ friends, family and even one of her teachers want the tree to come down. “I’ve lost kids to drunk driving accidents and cancer and suicide and stupid accidents but this is the first one that is 100 percent preventable and I am not going to rest until it is taken care of,” said teacher Danielle Hewitt. “We do not want any other family to go through what we have gone through and are going through and will continue to go through for the rest of our lives,” said Maynus’ grandmother, Arvida Newcomer…

Port Huron, Michigan, Help trees regrow leaves if gypsy moths get to them (June 30, 2020)

First introduced in eastern New England more than 100 years ago, the gypsy moth was brought to the United States for use in silkmaking, said Scott Lint, Forest Resources Division forest health expert for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.But they escaped. Arriving in Michigan in the 80s, the species caused serious problems in the early 90s. While the insects have become somewhat naturalized over the years, there are occasionally outbreaks when certain conditions are suitable. These outbreaks usually collapse on their own, but there are two areas of the the state causing concern for the DNR this summer. “We suspect this population will also collapse, but the issue is from a nuisance standpoint for homeowners,” he said. “They have to tolerate thousands of caterpillars crawling on their house and stripping all the leaves off their trees…

Elgin, Illinois, Daily Herald, June 29, 2020: Elgin will hold off on removing 10 trees after residents’ complaints

The city of Elgin will not preemptively cut down 10 trees along Chicago Street after residents complained about such a plan. The 10 trees, including some large silver maples, are on the public parkway. They had been slated for removal because of “a high likelihood of considerable damage or death” — and therefore a risk to property and people — during the ongoing rebuilding of East Chicago Street, city spokeswoman Molly Gillespie said. The city sent a letter with an apology to residents last week and offered to plant “a larger-than-typical replacement tree,” Gillespie said. After negative feedback from some residents, the city opted instead to allow the homeowners who live across from the trees to decide whether to keep them or replace them before construction proceeds further, Gillespie said. “We will be doing as much as practical to not harm the trees that are requested to remain standing, but if during construction we encounter a tree and have concerns it is a threat to safety, we will take steps to remove it,” she said…

Baton Rouge, Louisiana, WBRZ-TV, June 29, 2020: Dead tree debate taking too long, could have saved homeowner money

A dead tree is a topic of debate between the city-parish and a property owner for more than two months. Kim Scarton’s records show that she called the city-parish’s 311 call center about a dead tree behind her fence line on June 26, 2019, and took down a work order. But it wasn’t until 2 On Your Side got involved did she receive an answer from the city-parish about who it thinks should take responsibility. “We requested removal, we got a work order number and they said they’d be in touch,” said Scarton. A couple of weeks went by. Scarton says her neighbor called the city-parish after a tree behind her house was damaged during Tropical Storm Barry. On July 15, 2019, she says a representative from the South Drainage Department came out to investigate and told her the trees were not on their properties, but in the city-parish servitude. On July 23, 2019, two city-parish arborists visited Scarton’s home. “We were told they’re on city property and they’ll be recommended for removal,” Scarton said. After following up a few times, Scarton said she didn’t hear anything. Then on August 24, 2019, a branch fell from the tree onto Scarton’s roof. Estimates to repair the damage exceed $3,500…

Normal, Illinois, Pantagraph, June 30, 2020: TRACKING TREES – Watch now: Normal completes inventory of 12,000 trees

Standing on the Ironwood Golf Course, Reid Gibson can identify a tree’s species, diameter and condition within a matter of minutes. Gibson, an arborist with Davey Resource Group, has entered thousands of trees in Normal into a program that will help the town fight off invasive insect species and keep track of its urban canopy. With a handheld computer attached to his tool belt, he is able to pinpoint the exact location of the tree into a geographic location system to create a database of the town of Normal’s trees. “In the future, we’ll use the tree inventory for years to come, so it’s a huge benefit for the town,” said Tyler Bain, Normal park maintenance supervisor. “We’re trying to put trees in the urban forest in the forefront because it’s not always there. “We’re trying to protect what we have and improve it for the future. Gibson completed a nearly two-month long inventory of 12,000 trees throughout Normal. He has surveyed roughly 250 trees per day, working 10 hour days Monday through Friday to prepare a database for Normal’s tree canopy…”

Grand Rapids, Michigan, WXMI-TV, June 29, 2020: 85-year-old says tree service took his money and ran

A tree service in Barry County recently featured by the FOX 17 Problem Solvers is accused of taking money and not doing the work. Now an 85-year-old veteran says he too is out hundreds of dollars. Russell Golden still works hard for his money and takes good care of it. “I can’t afford to lose money and other old people can’t either,” says Golden. In March, he noticed some of his oak trees beginning to rot, so he says he hired Darren Huffman of Darren’s Tree Service to do some trimming. Golden made a contract for the job that outlined its $900 cost. “I had him sign a contract, he was supposed to do it in a week. And he said he had to have half the money, so I wrote him out a check for $500. I never seen him since,” Golden explained. And Golden says the check did cash. FOX 17 has tried multiple times to get in touch with Darren, once again Monday night, we received his voicemail…

Atlanta, Georgia, Saporta Report, June 28, 2020: Citizens group proposes an alternative tree ordinance for Atlanta

Atlanta may get a new and improved tree ordinance after all. The Atlanta City Council held a Tree Ordinance Work Session on June 25 to discuss a proposed draft ordinance prepared by consultants and released March 20. But it was an alternative draft tree ordinance presented by a citizens group that stole the show. Chet Tisdale, a retired environmental attorney who serves on the City of Atlanta’s Tree Conservation Commission, helped convene 22 citizens – professional arborists, developers, an ecologist, attorneys, members of watershed protection organizations, members of tree protection groups among others – who worked the alternative draft tree ordinance. The citizens version addresses many of the criticisms the public had of the draft tree ordinance proposed by the consultants, with some people questioning whether it had more loopholes than the tree ordinance Atlanta has had in place for the past 20 years. Tisdale said the citizens alternative is still a work in progress, and he welcomed the public to propose ways to make it “a tree protection ordinance that the city of Atlanta deserves…”

London, UK, Daily Mail, June 29, 2020: Arborist cuts off his own leg while chopping down a tree in New South Wales

An arborist has accidentally amputated his leg while cutting down a tree in New South Wales. The 51-year-old man was working in Wilberforce, 61km northwest of Sydney, on Monday when a rope wrapped by his leg got caught in a nearby woodchipper. The machine pulled the rope taut, severing his leg beneath the knee. The force of the rope being yanked into the woodchipper sent the man’s detached leg ‘flying into the air’, the Careflight team told ABC News. The man suffered from significant blood loss due to the amputation and his colleagues provided first aid. ‘The moment the leg went flying through the air, the quick actions of others meant they were able to grab and preserve it,’ a CareFlight spokeswoman said. Careflight’s rapid response helicopter were called to the scene just before 11.30am. NSW Police officers who were first on scene had already tied a tourniquet around the man’s leg, significantly increasing his chances of survival after the incident…

New York City, Wall Street Journal, June 28, 2020: A Row Over Trees Could Spark the Next Israel-Lebanon War

At the heart of tensions that threaten to trigger a new war between Israel and Lebanon are lines of trees planted along their blurred border. The trees are growing next to Israel’s concrete border walls that tower over Lebanon. They won’t just make this place greener. The trees will eventually block Israeli spy cameras that peer across the line. That is something Israel won’t allow. Now the United Nations is trying to broker a deal to prevent this dispute from sparking another deadly conflict between the two sides. “The cutting of a branch here could trigger a war,” said Andrea Tenenti, spokesman for the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon, which has more than 10,000 peacekeepers spread out across the south of the country. The tensions center not just on the trees but also who is planting them. Green Without Borders is an environmental group aligned with Hezbollah, the Iran-backed military and political force designated by the U.S. as a terrorist organization. It has run tree-planting projects with Hezbollah before and, with Lebanese military support and government backing, the group has also built a series of cinder block lookout towers that Israeli officials say are used by Hezbollah to plot attacks…

Kennebec, Maine, Journal, June 28, 2020: Knotty tree fungus strikes cherry, plum trees in Augusta

A nasty fungus has infected numerous cherry trees in the city, including 14 at a city park where officials plan to have them cut down and removed. The black knot fungus is slowly killing cherry trees at Monument Park, off Memorial Circle, clinging to the trees’ branches and leaving them barren and dying. Community Services Director Leif Dahlin said the city’s arborist, Rich Wurpel, has spent hundreds of hours over the past several years trying to battle back against the fungus, but it keeps coming back. This year, it has spread to the point trees will be cut down before they die on their own — an effort to prevent further spread of the fungus. “You can see where he’s clipped and clipped and clipped,” Dahlin said of Wurpel, noting he wipes his pruning clippers off between each cut to prevent spreading the fungus. “But this year it exploded and, tragically, those trees are done. They’re done. It’s time for them to go.” The fungus is also affecting cherry trees in Mill Park, Calumet Park and other places, which will also be cut down. Experts say the fungus can also harm plum trees. Dahlin briefed the Augusta City Council on the situation last week because people are sure to see trees being cut down at Monument Park, adjacent to Memorial Circle, according to City Manager William Bridgeo…

Beverly Hills, California, The Hollywood Reporter, June 25, 2020: The Community Feud Over Beverly Hills’ Trees

What’s going on with the trees in Beverly Hills? That’s what a lot of 90210 insiders have been asking for months after the Beverly Hills City Council voted in February to move forward with the removal of close to 1,200 trees at a cost of $2.1 million, citing fire safety in the wildfire-prone area. Phase 1 was due to begin March 20 in the Trousdale Estates area, but the removal process is taking a breather amid the pandemic while, at the same time, opposition is mounting. A rep for the city of Beverly Hills tells THR that the removal plan is in “pause mode right now” and no trees are currently being removed. When the work began — “as we often find,” the rep added — some residents indicated they were not aware of the plans, but due to the pandemic, in-person outreach was not possible. “So we are resetting,” with plans to hire a consultant to develop a wildfire assessment report. Once that is done, community meetings will be scheduled for the fall, and if approved, further tree trimming would begin later in the year. But local leaders should expect resistance. THR has learned that dissenters of the removal include Jeffrey Katzenberg. Calls to other residents known to disapprove of the plan were not returned. Grassroots efforts are underway to fight the removal, and THR obtained a letter signed by Nickie Miner, president of the Benedict Canyon Association, who writes that “healthy ‘green’ trees we now know act as a firewall for structures in case of wildfires. The owl population along with other wildlife habitat in our trees and hills are necessary to maintain ecological balance. Especially in this period of national emergency, while our community, the nation and the world is under siege by a virus that attacks the lungs, we want to ensure there is no impression that the City of Beverly Hills is attacking our oxygen producing trees…”

Atlanta, Georgia, WABE Radio, June 25, 2020: Atlanta Is Still Trying To Redo Its Tree Ordinance

The city of Atlanta is taking another whack at developing a new tree protection ordinance. The rule is meant to protect trees in the city, but there’s a lot of unhappiness with it. And replacing it has been a challenge.The old ordinance is about 20 years old, according to City Councilman Matt Westmoreland. For years, city officials have said they’ll work on an update in an effort to maintain the city’s tree canopy or even to expand it, with a goal of 50% tree cover. An analysis released a few years agofound that as of 2014, Atlanta was at about 47%, and losing trees as older, smaller houses were torn down and replaced with larger ones. “It does an inadequate job of protecting trees, which it’s intended to do,” Planning Commissioner Tim Keane said Thursday at a City Council work session. “Also the process within the tree ordinance is convoluted and unpredictable. So it’s a little bit of a kind of worst-case scenario.” Last year, work began on a rewrite of the ordinance as part of the city’s new urban ecology framework. But a meeting in November meant to update the public on the new ordinance ended up, as one City Council member referred to it, a “nightmare.” Attendees at that meeting were frustrated with the lack of progress on developing new rules to protect trees. Another tree meeting that was supposed to happen the following night was abruptly canceled…

Columbus, Ohio, The Ohio State University, June 23, 2020: Orange “Dust” from Callery Pears

Homeowners in southwest Ohio were surprised yesterday to awake to find sidewalks, cars, and streets beneath Callery pears (Pyrus calleryana) covered in a fine sprinkling of orange dust. The unusual event spawned rampant speculation on social media and captured the attention of the local news media. The source of the orange patina appears to be Gymnosporangium clavipes; the cedar-quince rust fungus. The “orange dust” is actually the spores of the fungus and the source are tube-like structures, called aecia, which are sprouting from the fruits and to a lesser extent, the stems of infected Callery pears. Fruit infections cause no harm to the overall health of infected trees. Although the stem infections may cause minor tip dieback, the damage is usually inconsequential to tree health. The rain of orange is generally considered to be an aesthetic issue; however, affected homeowners may have a different perspective. Plant pathologists developed the Disease Triangle to graphically illustrate the three conditions that must be present at the same time for a plant disease to develop. Viewed from a management perspective, the Triangle is helpful with showing that by removing any one of the three components, disease development can be prevented…

Rochester, New York, Democrat & Chronicle, June 25, 2020: Gypsy moths invade Ontario County; some trees ‘almost completely stripped’

It started sometime in early June. Bob and Kathy Taylor noticed tiny caterpillars showing up everywhere. The creatures quickly multiplied outside their house in South Bristol — crawling on walls, railings and steps, swinging and falling from trees and underneath gutters — ferociously chomping on tree leaves. Forget sitting outside on the deck, where chewed up leaves and millions of caterpillar droppings rain down. Gypsy moths are raising havoc, and not just on the Taylor property on Mosher Road. The leaf-eating pests are showing up in other areas of South Bristol and elsewhere. There is a serious outbreak of gypsy moth caterpillars this year in the Bristol Mountain area and several other locations within Ontario County,” said Russell Welser Sr., resource educator for Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ontario County. Trees are being defoliated. This caterpillar in its later growth stage can eat up to a square foot of leaf surface in a single day…”

Futurity, June 24, 2020: Swaying trees could power new forest fire alarm

The remote forest fire detection and alarm system gets power from the movement of the trees in the wind, researchers report. The device, known as MC-TENG—short for multilayered cylindrical triboelectric nanogenerator—generates electrical power by harvesting energy from the sporadic movement of the tree branches from which it hangs. “As far as we know, this is the first demonstration of such a novel MC-TENG as a forest fire detection system,” says lead author Changyong Cao, who directs the Laboratory of Soft Machines and Electronics in Michigan State University’s School of Packaging. “The self-powered sensing system could continuously monitor the fire and environmental conditions without requiring maintenance after deployment,” he says. For Cao and his team, the tragic forest fires in recent years across the American West, Brazil, and Australia were driving forces behind this new technology. Cao believes that early and quick response to forest fires will make the task of extinguishing them easier, significantly reducing the damage and loss of property and life. Traditional forest fire detection methods include satellite monitoring, ground patrols, and watch towers, among others, which have high labor and financial costs in return for low efficiency. Current remote sensor technologies are becoming more common, but primarily rely on battery technology for power…

Birmingham, Alabama, WBRC-TV, June 24, 2020: Foresters warn homeowners to inspect trees on their property

Trees can provide shade on a hot day, and beauty to the landscape, but they can also pose a threat to your life and property, especially during inclement weather. You should also double check your insurance policy to see what’s covered. “If you’re going to allow those trees to live on your property, just be aware of their condition,” said Hoover City Forester, Colin Connor. Connor said you should be diligent about inspecting the trees on your property. “Preventative maintenance is a better practice. Considering the risk that trees can pose to property, whether it be your home, an automobile, heaven forbid, your life, knowing those risks, it’s important to be aware of the trees not just accepting that they’re growing in your yard,” Connor explained. Connor recommends walking your property following storms looking for differences in your trees, like leans or parts of the tree that no longer have leaves…

Legal Cheek, June 24, 2020: Branching out: Could we give legal rights to trees?

In times gone by, membership of Greenpeace would have caused some to form stereotypical, new-age assumptions about you, whereas today joining Extinction Rebellion gives rise to no such stigma. Whether you’re a tree-hugging, sandal-wearing, all organic vegan or simply thinking about switching to a bamboo toothbrush, we’re all increasingly aware of the pejorative impact that humans are having on our planet. Not least politicians, who continuously fail to reach consensus on how the international community should manage various environmental problems. However, in amongst the environmental hullabaloo, in an odd Guardian article here, or a chance TED Talk there, there are some who think that there should be a paradigm shift in the way we think about the degradation of nature — they think that trees (and other natural objects) should have their own legal rights. “Don’t be silly,” I hear you cry. “Trees can’t have rights, they’re not even human!” But hold on. The notion that a natural object could be a rights holder is not as bizarre as it first seems. After all, companies, nation states and even ships have legal personality and they’re obviously not human, so it deserves serious consideration. The idea that trees can have legal rights (hereafter called “the Trees Thesis”) was originally posited by Christopher Stone in an article published in 1972 entitled ‘Should Trees Have Standing? — Toward Legal Rights for Natural Objects’…

Greenbiz, June 24, 2020: Is destruction the inevitable fate of our forests?

The world lost 9.3 million acres of tropical primary forests last year — an area nearly the size of Switzerland constituting some of the most valuable ecosystems on the planet for climate stability and biodiversity conservation. According to the latest data on Global Forest Watch, the area of forest loss in 2019, both overall and in such forest-rich countries as Brazil, the DRC and Indonesia, was remarkably similar to the year before. Does this mean we’re stuck at this unacceptably high level of forest destruction, year after year, despite the many, varied efforts to stop it? Not necessarily. Deforestation could get dramatically worse or dramatically better, depending on the road that we choose. Remember that all of the reported 2019 forest loss happened before any of us had heard of COVID-19 and does not reflect any impacts of the pandemic. It’s important to consider the 2019 numbers on their own terms, in the new light of current health and economic crises, and in the context of decisions shaping the recovery…

Albuquerque, New Mexico, Journal, June 23, 2020: Group plans for fall forest planting of ‘tree islands’

The Las Conchas Fire of 2011 burned more than 150,000 acres of Bandelier National Monument and the Jemez Mountains. To help reforest the region, the Nature Conservancy teamed up with federal, state, university and tribal partners. In the fall of 2019, the team collected 350,000 ponderosa pine seeds – half of which will grow into seedlings and be replanted. It was the state’s biggest seed collection effort since the 1970s. But many more seeds are needed for reforestation, said Collin Haffey, conservation manager for the Nature Conservancy of New Mexico. “When you’re talking about multiple species of seed, piñon, and Douglas fir and aspen, those seeds are really hard to come by in any given year,” Haffey said. Ponderosa seedlings from Bandelier are now growing at the New Mexico State University John T. Harrington Forestry Research Center in Mora. The collected pine cones were first placed in a greenhouse. “That changes the temperature within the cone and allows them to open up,” said Owen Burney, the center’s director. “If you go in there on a pretty warm day, it sounds like a big giant bowl of Rice Krispies as the cones all slowly open up.” The crew places the pine cones in a tumbler, cleans the seeds that fall out and tests them for viability. Seeds can also be stored in a freezer for up to 50 years. The group will start planting the trees this fall and also plans to collect more seeds. The goal is to plant 100,000 trees in the Jemez Mountains over the next two years…

Lansing, Michigan, State Journal, June 23, 2020: Invasive spotted lanternfly could threaten Michigan fruit, hops, tree crops

The state of Michigan is asking residents to be on the lookout for an invasive species that could damage or kill more than 70 different crops and plants in the state. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources says the spotted lanternfly could be the next invasive species to threaten Michigan’s agriculture and natural resources. The lanternfly could negatively affect a wide variety of plants including grapes, apples, hops and hardwood trees. So far, the species has not been detected in Michigan, the DNR said in a June 23 news release. However, it is “spreading rapidly” across the country. It was first detected in the United States in 2014 in Pennsylvania. To date, infestations have been found in Delaware, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia. “Prevention and early detection are vital to limiting the spread of spotted lanternfly,” said Robert Miller, invasive species prevention and response specialist for Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. The spotted lanternfly damages trees, crops and plants by sucking sap and secreting large amounts of a sugar-rich, sticky liquid called honeydew. This honeydew and the resulting black, sooty mold can kill plants and foul surfaces. Additionally, the honeydew often attracts other pests, especially hornets, wasps and ants, affecting outdoor recreation and complicating crop harvests…

London, UK, Telegraph, June 24, 2020: Hundreds of thousands of Guinness kegs fertilise Christmas trees in lockdown

Hundreds of thousands of unused kegs of Guinness have been repurposed to fertilise Christmas trees during the coronavirus lockdown. The forestry project is one of several environmentally friendly disposal routes the famous Irish brewery employed as it brought back millions of litres of stout, beer and ale from closed pubs and bars. At the start of the lockdown in Ireland, Guinness reduced operations at its St James’ Gate brewery in Dublin to the minimal level required to keep its yeast stocks alive. It was the first time that had happened since the 1916 Easter Rising rebellion in the city. Now production has ramped up once again as pubs and bars across Ireland, the UK and beyond prepare to start welcoming customers back… Aidan Crowe, the director of operations at the brewery, said Guinness decided in the early days of lockdown to support its on-trade customers by retrieving the kegs that were set to be unused due to the closure of hospitality outlets. “It’s been a tough time in the brewery but it’s been a much tougher time if you’re trying to run on-trade outlets in this part of the world,” he said. “That’s why it was very, very important right from the start of the lockdown to support the on-trade as much as we could. That’s why we took the decision to bring back all of the beer from the on-trade. “Basically what we do is we take all the keg beer back and we decant it and we disperse the product through a number of environmentally sustainable routes.” Mr Crowe said the vast majority of the beer goes to willow and Christmas tree plantations, to be used as nutrients in those farms…

Bozeman, Montana, Daily Chronicle, June 23, 2020: Trees around Bozeman slow to rebound from cold fall

Last fall’s cold temperatures are affecting deciduous trees this summer. Leaves died while still on branches before falling off as a result of the weather, which set off a chain reaction being felt months later. “We had these sudden, deep cold temperatures that killed leaves and therefore robbing those trees of their nutrients for growth in the spring,” said Cheryl Moore-Gough, a Montana State Extension horticulture specialist. This spring and summer, lots of trees have either died or are on the brink of death. While they may survive, leaves didn’t bud the way they normally do. The trend is evident in Bozeman and statewide, Moore-Gough said. Moore-Gough recommends people don’t remove trees assumed to be dead until after the Fourth of July to give them ample time to start growing leaves again. As recently as this week, Moore-Gough has seen green ash trees — the type most affected by the early cold snap — around Bozeman starting to bud. “It’s not too late for those trees to recover,” she said. Homeowners can check their trees by seeing if branches are brittle. If they snap easily, the branch is likely dead, Moore-Gough said. Using a thumbnail or knife to scrape the surface of the branch can reveal a green or brown color underneath. If it’s green, the branch is alive and if it’s brown, it’s dead. The thumbnail test can also be used on young trees’ trunks…

Franklin, Indiana, Daily News, June 23, 2020: Historic leaning tree to come down, commissioners decide

The locally famous leaning tree that spawned generations of memories will come down, county officials said Monday. The Johnson County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved removing the tree that, for more than 150 years, stood at a 30-degree angle about 3 miles south of Franklin in the 3500 block of Airport Road. Two weeks ago, the three-member board tabled discussion of the tree after receiving conflicting analyses from master arborists who examined it. On Friday, the county received the results of another, more in-depth study that the two arborists—Michael G. Webster, of SavATree, and Lindsey Purcell, of Purdue Forestry and Natural Resources— collaborated on. The second study revealed that the tree is at “extreme risk” of falling within a year. The arborists found that a large dead limb in the canopy is particularly at risk, but recommended the entire tree be removed, as interior rot is also above acceptable levels. The 70-inch diameter tree has an average of five inches in diameter of sound interior wood on the east and west sides of the tree, according to the report. But a tree of this size should have 20 inches of sound wood to be deemed low risk for failure, the report said…

Phys.org, June 22, 2020: When planting trees threatens the forest

Campaigns to plant huge numbers of trees could backfire, according to a new study that is the first to rigorously analyze the potential effects of subsidies in such schemes. The analysis, published on June 22 in Nature Sustainability, reveals how efforts such as the global Trillion Trees campaign and a related initiative (H. R. 5859) under consideration by the U.S. Congress could lead to more biodiversity loss and little, if any, climate change upside. The researchers emphasize, however, that these efforts could have significant benefits if they include strong subsidy restrictions, such as prohibitions against replacing native forests with tree plantations. “If policies to incentivize tree plantations are poorly designed or poorly enforced, there is a high risk of not only wasting public money but also releasing more carbon and losing biodiversity,” said study co-author Eric Lambin, the George and Setsuko Ishiyama Provostial Professor in Stanford’s School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences. “That’s the exact opposite of what these policies are aiming for…”

Atlas Obscura, June 22, 2020: A Franken-Forest of Fruit Trees Is Growing on Governors Island

On Governors Island, just a five-minute ferry ride from Manhattan, art professor Sam Van Aken plots his fantasy orchard. He plans on opening a public park with 50 blossoming trees that bloom into a mosaic of pinks, reds, purples, and whites. Come summer and fall, after the flowers have faded, visitors will be able to leisurely pick among 200 rare varieties of peaches, plums, apricots, cherries, and apples. Van Aken is a master at grafting, an agricultural practice that involves transplanting one type of tree stem onto another, forming a sort of arboreal chimera. For his most well-known project, his “Tree of 40 Fruit,” Van Aken gathered rare varieties of stone fruit and grafted 40 different cultivars onto a single tree in Syracuse, New York. Now, he wants to open an entire orchard of these fantastical fruit trees. Van Aken hopes his Open Orchard will be both a breathtaking art installation and a living library that documents New York’s lost agricultural history. “I think it’s a great way to maintain diversity,” says Amit Dhingra, a professor of horticulture at Washington State University who works in rare-fruit conservation. On top of the novelty for the public, a repository of fruit genetics can help scientists like Dhingra learn more about disease resistance or hardiness in the face of climate change. “These types of projects should be planted wherever they can,” he says. “I’m envious that we don’t have one in my own town…”

Richmond, British Columbia, News, June 22, 2020: Nine trees getting axed in Richmond city centre

One Richmond resident isn’t happy about the loss of nine oak trees that line Lansdowne Road at No. 3 Road, which are being removed in conjunction with the redevelopment of the property. A sign appeared on the first tree late last week giving “48 hour notice” that the trees will be removed because they are in “poor condition” and the line of trees “conflict with linear park construction.” The date of removal is June 22 or later. Don Flintoff said he noticed the sign late last week and was puzzled that what appear to be healthy trees are going to be removed. The oak trees are located on Lansdowne next to what used to be the community police building and Richmond Centre for Disability. That lot and three adjacent ones to the north are being developed with an office tower and three residential towers with 365 units – 20 of which will be affordable housing units. “It’s an area of town that is going to be high-rise – we need these trees,” Flintoff said. A 10-metre wide linear park will be built where the trees are, and it is part of a pathway linking the Garden City Lands to the Oval. The developer will build the linear park, and then it will be transferred back to city ownership. The plan is for the developer to pay $11,700 to compensate for the trees, and double the number will be planted in the city…

Des Moines, Iowa, WOI-TV, June 21, 2020: Emerald ash borer creeps its way into Des Moines ash trees

The City of Des Moines is treating and removing Ash Trees following the discovery of emerald ash borer (EAB) infestations. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) says EAB’s are a “small, metallic green, invasive wood-boring beetle native to east Asia.” These critters attack and kill ash trees throughout their lives. Adult beetles can live on the outside of the trees and feed on leaves during the summer while their larvae feed on the living plant tissue and underneath the bark. DNR says EAB larvae that tunnel through the tree are “ultimately” what kills the trees, and humans are to blame for the spread of the beetles. EAB’s can kill a tree in two to four years. The entire state of Iowa is under federal firewood transport quarantine, according to the DNR. That means it’s strongly recommended that firewood only be obtained from within the county that it’s burned. So, how is the City of Des Moines treating the EAB problem? The Des Moines Emerald Ash Borer Management Program is responding to the infestations by treating or removing infected trees. The City says they have a plan to either treat or remove every ash tree in the next five years…

Chicago, Illinois, Sun-Times, June 21, 2020: Chicago fails to live up to its motto — City in a Garden — with every tree lost

A century ago, Chicago was a leader in shading its neighborhoods with an urban forest. But as Chicago continues to lose trees, other cities have caught up and surpassed us. For a host of environmental and quality-of-life reasons, It’s time Chicago worked to regain its status as exceptional when it comes to tree-lined streets. Since 2010, due to disease and other factors, Chicago has lost an average of 10,000 more trees than it has planted every year. That’s 200 fewer trees in each of the city’s 50 wards on average each year. The city now has a tree canopy that covers just 19% of its land. The metropolitan area has a canopy of 15.5%. By comparison, New York has 21% coverage and Los Angeles has 25%. Restoring Chicago’s urban forest will be a big job, but the longer we wait, the more difficult the job becomes. New trees need many years to grow to maturity. Trees benefit cities and human health in many ways. They cool areas that otherwise would be heat islands. They filter the air, helping people with respiratory problems, and absorb carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas. They soak up stormwater that otherwise results in flooding. They create habitat for wildlife, including birds that fly through on semiannual migrations…

Cadillac, Michigan, News, June 21, 2020: Black dots on maple trees

Samples of maple leaves infected with tar spot have been recently reported by Michigan State University Diagnostic Services. Tar spot is a foliar disease of maple caused by two species of fungus in the genus Rhytisma, which results in tarry black lesions up to an inch in diameter on the leaves. Tar spot occurs frequently in Michigan, although the level of severity may vary substantially year to year. What does tar spot do to maple trees? Tar spot on maple is most commonly caused by either R. acerinum, which produces large spots between 0.5 and 1.5 inches, or R. punctatum, which produces pinpoint-sized lesions. While tar spot mostly reduces the aesthetics of a tree, severe fungal infections can result in premature defoliation. R. acerinum is much more common in Michigan than R. punctatum. Although the most noticeable symptoms are present in late summer, infection actually occurs in spring as leaves are developing…

Boise, Idaho, Statesman, June 21, 2020: 2020’s wildfire season has been delayed. What should you expect as summer heat arrives?

The outcome of the fire season heavily depends on the weather during the spring months. This year’s wet and cool spring has delayed the onset of the fire season, which usually starts in June. But that doesn’t mean we will see low fire activity during the rest of the season. According to the National Interagency Fire Center, the weather from July to September will likely be warmer and drier than average, which “suggests an above-normal fire season despite its slow start.” But what does this mean and how do experts reach these conclusions? “There’s no way to truly predict how many wildfires you’ll get,” during a season, said Jared Jablonski, fire information officer for the Bureau of Land Management Boise District. The fire forecast evaluates the potential “to have more fires … as well as the potential for those fires to behave more aggressively and grow very quickly…”

New York City, The New York Times, June 18, 2020: PG&E Ordered to Pay $3.5 Million Fine for Causing Deadly Fire

A California judge ordered Pacific Gas & Electric on Thursday to pay a $3.5 million fine for causing the Camp Fire, the blaze that killed scores of people and destroyed the town of Paradise in 2018. Judge Michael R. Deems of Butte County Superior Court read the sentence, which matched a plea agreement between the company and a local prosecutor, after hearing statements from survivors of the 84 people killed in the fire, many of whom said PG&E was getting away with a slap on the wrist. The judge seemed to echo that sentiment. “If these crimes were attributed to an actual human person rather than a corporation, the anticipated sentence based on the applicable statutes to which the defendant has pleaded guilty would be 90 years to be served in state prison,” Judge Deems said. “Nevertheless, the court’s sentencing options are limited. As a corporation, PG&E cannot be sentenced to prison. The only punishment that the court is authorized to impose in this situation is a fine.” PG&E pleaded guilty on Tuesday to 84 counts of involuntary manslaughter and one count of illegally causing the fire. An estimated $30 billion in liability from that and other fires forced the company to seek bankruptcy protection in January 2019. State regulators have said that the utility repeatedly failed to maintain a transmission line that broke from a nearly 100-year-old tower, igniting the Camp Fire. The company’s failure was all the more glaring because the line cut through a forested and mountainous area, and some of the company’s towers had been knocked down by strong winds well before that blaze…

Phys.org, June 18, 2020: Use of forests to offset carbon emissions requires an understanding of the risks

Given the tremendous ability of forests to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, some governments are counting on planted forests as offsets for greenhouse gas emissions—a sort of climate investment. But as with any investment, it’s important to understand the risks. If a forest goes bust, researchers say, much of that stored carbon could go up in smoke. In a paper published in Science, University of Utah biologist William Anderegg and his colleagues say that forests can be best deployed in the fight against climate changewith a proper understanding of the risks to that forest that climate change itself imposes. “As long as this is done wisely and based on the best available science, that’s fantastic,” Anderegg says. “But there hasn’t been adequate attention to the risks of climate change to forests right now…” This paper, part of that roadmap, calls attention to the risks forests face from myriad consequences of rising global temperatures, including fire, drought, insect damage and human disturbance—a call to action, Anderegg says, to bridge the divide between the data and models produced by scientists and the actions taken by policymakers…

London, UK, Daily Mail, June 18, 2020: Forget about birds and bees, scientists prove SOAP BUBBLES can be used to pollinate fruit trees, which could help compensate for the dramatic declines in global bee populations

Scientists in Japan have found they can pollinate fruit trees using soap bubbles coated in pollen. A team of researchers from the Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology,  led by Eijiro Miyako, created a soapy solution that can be blended with up to 2,000 pollen grains per bubble and blown out of a plastic gun or dropped from above via drone. The team used the bubbles to pollinate pear trees in a small test orchard, and had a 95% success rate, about the same as manually pollinating the plants with a brush. ‘Some might dismiss this as something of a fantasy, but the soap bubble is effective for pollination,’ Miyako said in an interview with the BBC. ‘I was probably the only person on the planet to believe this when I started the “playful” work. Maybe I still am now.” The idea came to Miyako one day while he was playing with his young son, who was accidentally hit in the face by one of the soap bubbles they had been blowing. ‘There was no damage because soap bubbles are soft, light, and flexible,’ Miyako recalled…

USA Today, June 16, 2020: As Joshua trees are considered for threatened status, some warn cost of designation would be too high

In the high desert, Joshua tree symbolism is as ubiquitous as the plant itself. The Victor Valley’s two most-populous cities — Victorville and Hesperia — both feature Joshua trees in their official logos. The same can be said for Victor Valley College, the Hesperia Recreation and Park District, at least four area school districts and many local businesses. Joshua trees have sprung up in popular culture, as well. A U2 album bears the name, and the Las Vegas-based band The Killers have incorporated them into its merchandise. Writers like Tom Wolfe and John Steinbeck have attempted to describe their gangly attributes, and the National Park Service, which sees millions visit Joshua Tree National Park each year, has described them as “straight out of a Dr. Seuss book.” But not all is right in the world of Joshua trees…

Washington, D.C., Post, June 17, 2020: While covid lockdowns keep others at home, these Londoners are swinging through the trees

They call themselves tree surgeons. But swinging from branch to branch and taking turns slicing through trails of dead wood at neck-craning heights, Adam Rendell and Sam Davis look more like urban avengers who have figured out how to vanquish the coronavirus lockdown and still get a paycheck. “It’s social distancing at its finest,” Davis says after an hour amid the treetops of St. Pancras Gardens, his workspace for the moment in one of London’s greenest boroughs. When Britain’s lockdown began on March 23, Davis, a 29-year-old former bartender, saw friends working in restaurants and in the film industry suddenly put on furlough. Rendell, a 27-year-old who walked away from an IT job three years ago, said co-workers at his former office endured pay cuts and were told to work from home. The pair consider themselves lucky to practice a trade that, by its very nature, keeps them safe from crowds and contagion…

Portland, Oregon, KGW-TV, June 17, 2020: Trees are going up in flames in Albany and it’s all for science

Oregon State University researchers are conducting a unique study setting up real trees and then setting them on fire. “What we are doing is, we are measuring the total number of embers that are released when you burn a tree,” said David Blunck, an associate professor of mechanical engineering at Oregon State University. It’s fairly common knowledge when trees burn they give off embers. And those embers can quickly start other fires. Knowing how many embers a type of tree gives off, and just how far they travel, can be crucial when it comes to predicting the potential spread of a forest fire. The researchers say this information can also be used in models to predict where fires will spread. “You think about where people put resources, where you put houses, how you protect human lives, all those are tied in to being able to predict where they go,” said Blunck. It may also help homeowners decide what trees to plant around their homes. For example, the study found Ponderosa Pines do not produce a lot of hot embers. Junipers on the other hand give off a lot…

Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Online, June 17, 2020: Animals rescued from spotted lanternfly bands

This spring, sticky bands around trees are catching much more than spotted lanternflies. The traps, wrapped around tree trunks, are catching birds, bats, squirrels and possums. Raven Ridge Wildlife Center in Washington Boro receives at least two calls a day for help with a trapped animal. “This is serious,” says Tracie Young, Raven Ridge’s director and wildlife rehabilitator. “A lot of these animals are not surviving.” Placing a barrier like hardware cloth or chicken wire over the bands allows the lanternflies to be trapped yet prevents animals from being stuck. There’s also a new type of trap that does not use sticky tape. As spotted lanternflies hatch, now is the time to add traps to trees, stopping the spread of this invasive pest. Since the insect was first spotted in Pennsylvania in 2014, it has damaged grapevines, hops, fruit trees and more. Scraping egg masses is one way to kill the insect. Wrapping sticky bands around trees, especially tree of heaven, can catch nymphs as they walk up the tree. Raven Ridge started getting calls about animals caught in the traps in the spring. The wildlife center rehabilitates injured, orphaned and abandoned wildlife. “A lot of people are putting this tape up but they’re not thinking that this is baby season,” Young says. “This is when the baby wildlife is starting to explore their environment, working with their parents, learning to fly, going up a tree and crawling down…”

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, June 17, 2020: Philly’s ambitious plan to add trees could save hundreds of lives, study finds

A study led by a U.S. Forest Service researcher suggests that a Philadelphia program to increase tree cover across the city would prevent hundreds of premature deaths citywide, particularly in its poorest neighborhoods. The city’s goal under its Greenworks program has been to boost tree canopy cover to 30% in each neighborhood by 2025. The new research suggests that increasing the canopy to that degree could result in around 400 fewer premature deaths annually, because of a variety of factors. Even a more modest increase, however, would allow more Philadelphians to live longer. Further, growing the canopy could have the most dramatic impact in poorer areas, which tend to have the lowest tree canopy. “To the best of our knowledge, our report is the first citywide health impact assessment of estimated effects of a tree canopy policy on premature mortality,” the authors wrote in an article published in April in Lancet Planetary Health…

Seattle, Washington, Seattle Times, June 16, 2020: British Columbia’s old-growth trees may soon be gone if policies don’t change

Most of British Columbia’s old-growth forests of big trees live only on maps, and what’s left on the ground is fast disappearing, a team of independent scientists has found. A recent report revealed the amount of old-growth forest still standing in the province has been overestimated by more than 20% and most of the last of what’s left is at risk of being logged within the next 12 years. In the report, the scientists revealed most of the forest counted as old growth by the province is actually small alpine or boggy forest. It’s old — but the trees are not the giants most people think of when they are referring to old growth. Less than 1% of the forest left in the province is composed of the productive ground growing massive old trees, some more than 1,000 years old, including coastal temperate rainforests on Vancouver Island and a fast-vanishing inland old-growth temperate rainforest on the west slopes of the Rockies, unique in the world. While the authors agree with B.C.’s official tally that 23% of the forest in the province is old growth, “that is incredibly misleading,” said Rachel Holt, an ecologist based in Nelson, B.C., and an author of the report. “They are mixing in bog forests where the trees are no taller than me, and I am 5 feet tall, and they are mixing in high-elevation tiny trees. They are old and valuable but they are not what you, or I, or anyone else thinks of when they think of old growth…”

Infosurhoy, June 17, 2020: Scientists Find Genes to Save Ash Trees From Deadly Beetle That Is Expected to Kill Billions of Trees Worldwide

An international team of scientists have identified candidate resistance genes that could protect ash trees from the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB), a deadly pest that is expected to kill billions of trees worldwide. In the new study, published recently in Nature Ecology & Evolution, researchers from Queen Mary University of London and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, sequenced the genomes of 22 species of ash tree (Fraxinus) from around the world and used this information to analyze how the different species are related to each other. Meanwhile, collaborators from the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service in Ohio tested resistance of over 20 ash tree species to EAB by hatching eggs attached to the bark of trees, and following the fate of the beetle larvae. Resistant ash trees generally killed the larvae when they burrowed into their stems, but susceptible ones did not. The research team observed that several of the resistant species were more closely related to susceptible species than to other resistant species. This meant the UK-based genome scientists were able to find resistance genes, by looking for places within the DNA where the resistant species were similar, but showed differences from their susceptible relatives. Using this novel approach, the scientists revealed 53 candidate resistance genes, several of which are involved in making chemicals that are likely to be harmful to insects…

Medical Express, June 16, 2020: Study in Philadelphia links growth in tree canopy to decrease in human mortality

The first city-wide health impact assessment of the estimated effects of a tree canopy initiative on premature mortality in Philadelphia suggests that increased tree canopy could prevent between 271 and 400 premature deaths per year. The study by Michelle Kondo, a Philadelphia-based research social scientist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, and her partners suggest that increased tree canopy or green space could decrease morbidity and mortality for urban populations—particularly in areas with lower socioeconomic status where existing tree canopies tend to be the lowest. The study, “Health impact assessment of Philadelphia’s 2025 tree canopy cover goals,” examined the potential impact of Greenworks Philadelphia, a plan to increase tree canopy to 30 percent across the city by 2025, on human mortality. The analysis is one of the first to estimate the number of preventable deaths based on physical activity, air pollution, noise, heat, and exposure to greenspaces using a tool developed by public health researchers in Spain and Switzerland called the Greenspace-Health Impact Assessment…

Chicago, Illinois, Tribune, June 16, 2020: Keep an eye on climbing vines to prevent damage to trees

Some gardeners like the look of ivy twining up a tree trunk. However, vines that twine too far can be bad news for the tree, according to Sharon Yiesla, plant knowledge specialist at The Morton Arboretum in Lisle. “A few vine stems on a tree’s trunk are mostly harmless,” Yiesla said. They cling to the bark with fine, hairlike rootlets but don’t penetrate the wood. However, “if a vine grows up into the branches, it can crowd out the tree’s leaves,” she said. “The vine’s leaves may block the sunlight that the tree’s leaves need to manufacture food.” Eventually, a tangle of vines can weigh enough to break tree branches. A large vine also will compete with the tree. “The vine has its own root system, which is absorbing water and nutrients from the same soil as the tree’s roots,” she said. Over time, competing with a vigorous vine may weaken a tree, making it more susceptible to drought, pests and diseases…

Washington, D.C., Courthouse News Service, June 15, 2020: High Court Green-Lights Pipeline Route Through Appalachian Trail

Atlantic Coast Pipeline won the right to cut through the Appalachian Trail with a 7-2 Supreme Court reversal on Monday. Once completed, the 605-mile natural gas pipeline will span West Virginia to North Carolina, including one 16-mile stretch of the George Washington National Forest. Though the pipeline company obtained special-use permits to that end from the U.S. Forest Service, environmental groups that filed suit claimed that any work would require congressional approval because a tenth of the pipeline in the forest would run through the Appalachian Trail. The Fourth Circuit agreed to block construction on the basis that the National Park Service administers the Appalachian Trail, but the Supreme Court reversed Monday. Writing for the majority, Justice Clarence Thomas said federal lands cannot be converted into the property of the National Park System merely because the Park Service obtained rights-of-way agreements for the length of the trail within national forests. “Easements are not land, they merely burden land that continues to be owned by another,” he wrote.“If analyzed as a right-of-way between two private land-owners, determining whether any land had been transferred would be simple,” the 18-page opinion continues. “If a rancher granted a neighbor an easement across his land for a horse trail, no one would think that the rancher had conveyed ownership over that land. … Likewise, when a company obtains a right-of-way to lay a segment of pipeline through a private owner’s land, no one would think that the company had obtained ownership over the land through which the pipeline passes…”

Clemson, South Carolina, Clemson University, June 15, 2020: Inspectors survey Low Country trees after invasive beetle discovered

An invasive species of beetle discovered for the first time in South Carolina has state and federal officials conducting surveys in Charleston County to determine the extent of the insect’s spread. The Asian longhorned beetle was found by a homeowner in Hollywood, S.C., who contacted Clemson University’s Department of Plant Industry (DPI) to report it. A DPI inspector collected the insect for identification and conducted a preliminary survey of the trees on the property. At least four maple trees appear to be infested and inspectors have captured live beetles. “We were very fortunate that the residents reported it when they did,” said Steven Long, assistant director of Clemson Regulatory Services who oversees DPI and invasive species. “We think it is confined just to this local area, but we are just getting started with our surveys.” Clemson’s Plant and Pest Diagnostic Clinic and the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s (APHIS) National Identification Services have confirmed the insect’s identity. The Asian longhorned beetle, Anoplophora glabripennis, is a wood-boring beetle that threatens a variety of hardwood trees, including maple, elm, ash, sycamore, poplar and willow. It is not a pest of the oak species that are more abundant in South Carolina. As the beetle bores into the tree it interrupts the flow of life-giving sap and weakens the tree, ultimately killing it. Infested trees also can become safety hazards, since branches can drop and trees can fall over, especially during storms…

Inspire More, June 15, 2020: 10 Trees That Couldn’t Resist Eating Their Neighbors

Have you ever said something like, “I’m so hungry I could eat a cow”? Sometimes we get so distracted by food that we feel like we could eat just about anything. The same can be said for trees! OK, trees don’t really eat things, but if you plant one in the wrong spot, its trunk will resort to growing around any barriers in its way. A famous example of this phenomenon is the Vashon Island Bicycle Tree. The bike is embedded in the wood about 7 feet above the ground. Many people speculate about how the old human-powered vehicle ended up there. For example, some say a soldier left it there before he went to war and never came back to retrieve it. Regardless of what happened, it looks like this tree tried to eat a whole bike, and it’s not the only one! Here are 10 unique trees that strayed from their usual diet of sunshine and water…

Home-Dzine, June 14, 2020: Beware of Trees Close to Swimming Pool

I have had problems with my swimming pool for over a year and finally got round to having this seen to this winter only to discover quite a serious problem. For the past year, our swimming pool has had a problem with air in the system. I have noticed quite a lot of air bubbles in the filter of the pump motor, a lot of bubbles coming from the outlet valve, and a lack of pressure when attaching the pool cleaner. Having checked all the seals and connections, nothing faulty could be found and I couldn’t quite decide what needs to be done next. It was becoming a problem to run the pool cleaner, due to the fact that as soon as it was connected, the pressure would drop so much that the creepy wouldn’t even clean the pool properly. After doing quite a bit of research and looking into all the possible problems, the only thing I could think of as the problem was a hole somewhere in the pipes…

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Inquirer, June 15, 2020: Spring freezes are chilling some berry and peach harvests in New Jersey and Pennsylvania

The exceptionally gentle winter that was so kind to energy consumers and road budgets evidently had a well-cultivated dangerous side, sowing the seeds of a rough harvest for some of the region’s peach orchardists and berry farmers. After fast-forwarding the growing season and exposing precocious buds and blooms, one of the mildest wintry stretches on record was followed by an extraordinary sequence of frosts and freezes in mid-April and May. “Bam! It came out of nowhere,” said Pete Furey, executive director of the New Jersey Farm Bureau. “We’ve heard reports of whole farms losing their peaches in Gloucester County,” said Furey. The 100-year-old Wm. Schober Sons Orchards & Farm Market in Monroeville was among the victims. “We lost about 90% of our peaches,” said owner John Hurff Sr., whose great-grandfather founded the company…

Idaho Falls, Idaho, East Idaho News, June 14, 2020: What you didn’t know about watering your lawn, trees, and garden

As the summer progresses and temperature’s rise, proper watering is critical to keep your plants happy, as well as to prevent issues in the future. A general rule of thumb is to water your plants according to their needs; and their water needs are different from plant to plant as well as their age and the time of year. This can be a tricky thing to handle and many problems arise due to improper watering. In our arid climate, many plants are chronically underwatered rather than overwatered. Shade trees growing in a lawn are one of the most likely victims of drought stress since people think that they are getting enough water since the grass is green, so therefore the trees must be getting enough water as well. Many times this isn’t true. Most often homeowners water their lawns for short amounts of time on a daily basis, rather than giving the lawns and trees a deep soak of water on an intermittent schedule. When I refer to a deep soak, that means that you have moisture penetrate down at least two and possibly three feet into the soil. When the common mistake of often and light watering happens, the grass normally soaks up the majority of the water, and it never gets past 6 inches into the soil. Therefore shade trees become chronically drought stricken as most of their water absorbing roots are within the top 2 feet of soil. A good rule of thumb for established trees, (meaning they have been in the ground at least two to three years), is to give them a deep soaking every two weeks during the summer time. But there are exceptions to this…

Provo, Utah, Daily Herald, June 14, 2020: Garden Help Desk: How to fix a leaning tree

Question: Can I fix a leaning tree? I have a leaning tree in my yard, and I thought I might be able to pull it back straight now that we’ve had a lot of rain and the ground has been soaked so that it won’t lean further or fall over. Is there a good way to do this?
Answer: Your chances of successfully straightening a leaning tree depend on several factors: • Did the tree lean gradually as it grew? • Did the tree tip suddenly during wet and very windy weather? • How long has it been since you first noticed the changing angle of the tree? • How severe is the angle of the tree? • What is near the tree? Some trees grow at an angel, reaching away from shade and toward the sun. Trees like this are usually stable but will naturally and gradually grow in the direction of more light. Leave trees like this alone; you can’t pull or push a tree like this into a vertical position. Some trees lean slowly with the angle becoming more severe every year. These trees are a sign that something is wrong in the landscape. Is there a leaking sprinkler valve keeping the soil wet? Does the tree have a girdling root that is gradually pushing the tree in one direction? Have you been watering too frequently, reducing the stability and vigor of the root system? Trees like this aren’t good candidates for straightening. The damage to the tree and the root system would be severe and the tree isn’t likely to be a safe, stable tree even if you could manage to push or pull it straight, which is unlikely…

Buffalo, New York, Spectrum News, June 14, 2020: Certified Arborist Explains How to Inspect Trees in WNY

Western New York is known for its beautiful trees, but if those trees aren’t maintained properly, they can become damaged, which is why it’s critical to inspect them from trunk to leaves. “Trees provide so much value to us as humans, so it’s important that people care for them because they have so many qualities that enhance our lives,” says ISA Certified Arborist Tom Anderson. According to Anderson, winters in Western New York have been changing with increased wind. “It’s common for us to have windstorms with 70 miles per hour winds, so the most important thing from an arborist standpoint is the safety of our trees and our landscapes,” he says. Homeowners are advised to check their soil to make sure that nothing is heaving, inspect trunks for cracks and note any dead or hanging branches. “Trees are unpredictable, so if you have a tree concern, it’s important to have a certified arborist come out and inspect the property to make sure that you have safe trees, so that you can enjoy your landscape for the summer months,” he explains. Something else to look for is the Gypsy Moth population…

Seattle, Washington, Times, June 11, 2020: Tips for hiring the pros who will keep your trees healthy

Though they appear healthy most of the time, on occasion your trees might become shady characters, done in — and perhaps ultimately brought down — by disease, damage or both. To keep your trees healthy, or to get rid of dying ones, you may want professional advice, skill and labor. To help you find this help, nonprofit consumer group Puget Sound Consumers’ Checkbook and Checkbook.org has surveyed its members, “Consumer Reports” subscribers and other randomly selected consumers about their experiences with area tree care services. Until July 15, Checkbook is offering free access to its ratings of tree care services to readers of The Seattle via this link. You don’t have to be an expert to spot many potential tree problems. Examine your trees several times a year for the following: Discolored leaves and thinning in the tree’s crown; Roots pulled loose from the ground and fungal growth on the roots and main trunk; Dead and fallen branches more than two inches in diameter; Deep vertical cracks on opposite sides of the main trunk; Sawdust on the trunk from wood-boring insects; A trunk that noticeably leans in one direction and a branch canopy that is not generally balanced; Other unusual deformations and deposits on leaves, limbs or bark. Other reasons you might need tree work include eliminating damage to your house or utility wires from rubbing or falling limbs; letting light and breezes more readily reach your house or yard; and protecting foundations and drainage systems from invading roots…

Frontiers in Plant Science, June 11, 2020: How Many Tree Species of Birch Are in Alaska? Implications for Wetland Designations

Wetland areas are critical habitats, especially in northern regions of North America. Wetland classifications are based on several factors, including the presence of certain plant species and assemblages of species, of which trees play a significant role. Here we examined wetland species of birch (Betula) in North America, with a focus on Alaska, and the use of birche tree species in wetland delineation. We sampled over 200 trees from sites, including Alaska, Alberta, Minnesota, and New Hampshire. We used genetic data from over 3000 loci detected by restriction site associated DNA analysis. We used an indirect estimate of ploidy based on allelic ratios and we also examined population genetic structure. We find that inferred ploidy is strongly associated with genetic groupings. We find two main distinct groups; one found throughout most of Alaska, extending into Alberta. This group is probably attributable to Betula kenaica, Betula neoalaskana, or both. This group has a diploid genetic pattern although this could easily be a function of allopolyploidy…

Boise, Idaho, Post-Register, June 10, 2020: Line trimmers damage trees

Question: My neighbor said that I am damaging my trees by trimming the grass around them with a line trimmer. Is that true? What is my alternative?
Answer: One of the more popular uses of line trimmers is to trim grass and weeds growing around trees. An occasional use around a well-established tree probably does little damage. However, weekly use around trees, especially young ones, is devastating. Every time the line hits the bark of a tree, a little outer bark is removed. As fast as line trimmers rotate, that may be a hundred times in one trimming. After 10 or 20 trimmings, there may be little or no bark left near the soil line on young trees. The inner bark of a tree contains the tubes, which carry food manufactured by the leaves down to the roots. If some of these tubes are damaged, less food reaches the roots. With less food, root growth slows and fewer new roots are produced. Slowing root growth means the tree can support fewer leaves. This reduces the growth rate and can actually reduce tree size as leaves are shed to balance top growth with root capacity. Once all the conducting tubes are cut, no more food reaches the roots and they begin to die. A slow, painful death of the leaves and branches follows…

Houston, Texas, Chronicle, June 11, 2020: Consider several questions before giving up on a damaged tree

We get questions from time to time regarding how to handle or what to do with a damaged tree. “Should I cut it down? What can I do to save the tree?” I ran across a publication that our Texas Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN) published. It was a publication called the “Tree Care Kit.” I hope the following information will help you assess a trees properly before writing off a damaged tree as a “goner.” Homeowners should evaluate their trees by asking the following questions: Other than the storm damage, is the tree basically healthy and vigorous? If the tree is basically healthy, is not creating a hazard, and did not suffer major structural damage, it will generally recover if first aid measures are applied immediately after the storm. Are major limbs broken? The larger a broken limb is, the harder it will be for the tree to recover from the damage. If most of the main branches are gone, the tree may have little chance of surviving. Has the leader (the main upward-trending branch on most trees) been lost? In species where a leader is important to upward growth or a desirable appearance, saving the tree may have to be a judgment call. The tree may live without its leader, but at best it would be a stunted or deformed version of the original. Is at least 50 percent of the tree’s crown (branches and leaves) still intact? This is a good rule of thumb on tree survivability. A tree with less than half of its branches remaining may not be able to produce enough foliage to nourish the tree through another season…

Phys.org, June 10, 2020: Bedrock type under forests greatly affects tree growth, species, carbon storage

A forest’s ability to store carbon depends significantly on the bedrock beneath, according to Penn State researchers who studied forest productivity, composition and associated physical characteristics of rocks in the Appalachian ridge and Valley Region of Pennsylvania. The results have implications for forest management, researchers suggest, because forests growing on shale bedrock store 25% more live, aboveground carbon and grow faster, taking up about 55% more carbon each year than forests growing on sandstone bedrock. The findings demonstrate that forests underlain by shale in this region provide more ecosystem services such as carbon uptake and biodiversity, explained researcher Margot Kaye, associate professor of forest ecology in the College of Agricultural Sciences. Also, shale forests make up a smaller portion of the landscape and should be high-priority candidates for management or conservation. “As forests grow and respond to warming, shifts in precipitation and invasive species, managers will benefit from incorporating lithological influences and considerations on forest composition and productivity,” she said. “For example, conserving forests growing on shale with higher species diversity will likely lead to forests that are resilient to stressors and can grow more vigorously…”

New York City, WCBS-TV, June 10, 2020: Long Island’s Smithtown Turning Into ‘Stumptown,’ Due To Companies Dumping Trees Into The Street

Residents in one Long Island town are sprucing up their yards, but in the process are making life extremely difficult for municipal workers. Now, local government is trying to put a stop to it, CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported Monday. It’s an obstacle course for Brandon and Cooper Gribbin of Smithtown. “I’m lucky enough and my wife to be able to work from home, so it gave us more time to tend to the yard, do some different projects,” father Matt Gribbin said. The Gribbins will use their lumber for firewood, and the mulch for their gardens. All of it is stored on their lawn. But around the corner and down nearly every block here, it’s a different story.Families staying home due to COVID-19 are cutting trees and clearing heavy branches with abandon, or hiring tree-trimming companies, many of which are simply hauling the stumps into the street and leaving them for inundated town workers. Proper disposal costs can run hundreds to thousands of dollars. “They are actually indicating to the resident that they can save them money by throwing it out in the road instead of removing it. And, again, that is a code violation in Smithtown,” town Supervisor Edward Wehrheim said. McLogan attempted to speak to one family, but they did not want to explain the nearly 100-foot long street-side pile of logs cleared from their yard, that neighborhood children “scooter” by. “The taxpayer should not have to pay for that,” one resident said. “Nobody likes to pay taxes for somebody else’s mess,” another added. Smithtown is one of a few Long Island municipalities to offer leaves and brush curbside pickup. Already, that volume has increased 65% during the pandemic. Now, adding tree removal is turning out to be too overwhelming…

Mashable, June 10, 2020: Don’t know how to tell trees apart? There’s an app for that

“Do you think Frank recognizes us?” my 10-year-old asked one afternoon as we peered over the railing of a bridge along the greenway in our neighborhood. Frank, naturally, is the copperhead snake who lives around the stream bed below the bridge. From a very safe distance, we check in on him (or her) during our regular bike rides. When we first spotted Frank’s tan skin and reddish hourglass markings, we thought it might be a copperhead. But how to make sure? If you’ve ever tried to take a picture of a plant or animal and Google it to find out what it is, you’ll know how frustrating and unhelpful the experience can be, especially for a non-scientist. Instead, to confirm our neighborhood snake species, we submitted a photo to the iNaturalist app – a wildlife observation tool that uses image recognition technology in conjunction with a strong community of users to identify plants and animals in pictures that users share. The photos submitted to iNaturalist fuel citizen science projects around the world. Tapping into that collective bank of expertise, in addition to the app’s powerful algorithms, confirmed that our local serpent was indeed a copperhead. It was one gratifying observation of many. During these past months of COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns when our home became our focus, logging observations into iNaturalist has become a go-to activity for my daughter and me. If you’re trying help your kids learn to enjoy nature, some subtle gamification can go a long way…

London, UK, The Sun, June 10, 2020: Supermodel ‘In Court Probe’: Claudia Schiffer ‘faces legal action in Majorca as neighbour claims gardener trespassed on property to cut down trees’

Model Claudia Schiffer is at the centre of an extraordinary court probe over claims she and her film producer husband had two pines trees belonging to a multi-millionaire neighbour chopped down because they were blocking their view. Willi Weber, ex manager of legendary F1 racing driver Michael Schumacher, is reportedly suing the German beauty and British husband Matthew Vaughn after discovering the trees had been removed. He says a specialist hired by the couple trespassed on his land after ignoring a warning to leave the trees alone and took them away with him after using a chainsaw to chop them down, according to local reports. Respected island daily Diario de Mallorca said he and the couple’s staff gardener have already been quizzed by a judge heading an ongoing investigation and Claudia and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels producer Vaughn could now end up in front of a judge. Mr Weber, said to have lodged his complaint after the trees disappeared from his garden next to Ms Schiffer’s mansion in Camp de Mar in July last year, told a German newspaper earlier this year he had received an apology from her husband. Insisting the 30ft pines were “cut off behind his bedroom”, he claimed: “Matthew Vaughn apologised to me and said what had happened was an accident and they thought the trees were on their plot.” Mr Weber also told Bild am Sonntag he planned to build a high wall between his home and his neighbour’s and bill them for the cost after what happened, warning: “Otherwise I will plant so many trees that they can only smell the sea…”

Halifax, Nova Scotia, Chronicle-Herald, June 9, 2020: Amherst moves to protect remaining elm trees

There was a time when Amherst was home to numerous stately elm trees. Thanks to Dutch Elm Disease, all but a few are gone. One of those remaining trees was innoculated against the disease earlier this week. The tree, located in Christie Park on Albion Street, was injected with Dutch Trig, an organic vaccine, by arborist Rory Fraser of the Maritime Elm Protection Initiative Pilot Project, a Sackville, N.B.-based organization that is working to protect and save elm trees. The vaccine consists of spores from a strain of Verticillium fungus that activates the elm’s natural defence mechanisms against the disease that is spread by beetles that feed under the bark. It was injected through the bark near the base of the tree. Because the tree adds rings each year, the inoculation will become an annual springtime event. “This project will help to protect one of our last healthy, publicly owned elm trees,” Amherst’s horticulturalist Chelsea Baird said. Baird noted many of the town’s stately elms have been lost to Dutch Elm Disease, especially on Victoria Street East and the surrounding areas where the streetscape has been drastically altered as a result of the disease killing dozens of elm trees since it arrived in town in the 1980s. “Unfortunately, we cannot turn back time and save all the elms that were lost in the past due to Dutch Elm Disease,” she said. “What we can do is work towards being more proactive and be better at protecting our urban forest through initiatives like this one…

Oswego, New York, Oswego County Today, June 9, 2020: Tree Trimming Discussed During Oswego Common Council Meeting

Resident disapproval over tree trimming in Oswego was discussed at last night’s Common Council meeting, Monday, June 8. Speaking on behalf of area constituents, Third Ward Councilor Kevin Hill led the discussion, noting residents’ dissatisfaction with tree trimming done along their properties. Contractors, hired by National Grid, are trimming trees around electrical wires in the City of Oswego for safety reasons. This process is done on a five-year rotation. Area constituents took photos to show the damage done by the contractors, revealing trees in unfavorable conditions. “At first glance, these trees appear to be severely damaged [and] heavily pruned in a way I can’t recall ever seeing anytime in the past,” Hill said. Hill spoke with National Grid Forestry Supervisor Scott Saladin, who said they used the same forestry specifications in all of their service areas. Hill argued during last night’s meeting that using the same standards along a highway is not appropriate in a city or suburban neighborhood. “It seems that they can take a lot more care when they’re doing things like trimming in neighborhoods, especially when it’s in historic neighborhoods with land-marked trees [and] trees that are decades old,” Hill said…

Franklin, Indiana, Daily Journal, June 10, 2020: Leaning tree’s future in limbo: Arborists give conflicting reports about historic tree’s condition

Generations of Johnson County residents have driven under the locally famous leaning tree, wondering how it doesn’t topple over, amazed that it has stood that way for so long. The leaning tree, which has stood at a 45-degree angle for roughly 200 years, is about 3 miles south of Franklin in the 3500 block of Airport Road. The historic sycamore tree has been leaning for as long as anyone in Johnson County can remember. Now, the Johnson County Board of Commissioners and Johnson County Highway Department are considering whether it needs to be removed due to safety concerns. The commissioners postponed making a decision about the tree at its meeting Monday after Luke Mastin, county highway director, told the board the report by a master arborist hired by the county is not yet finalized. The county closed Airport Road last week based on a preliminary report that said the tree had reached a state of decay in which it could fall at any time, Mastin said. Travelers, usually only those who live in the area or commute between Franklin and Camp Atterbury in southern Johnson County, drive or ride directly under the tree. The investigation began after a resident complained nearly two weeks ago that the tree looks to have rotted significantly. The road will remain closed until it is more clear how bad of shape it is in, he said…

Denver, Colorado, KDVR-TV, June 9, 2020: Local company helps homeowner remove large, unstable tree

This week’s storms are leaving many dangerously unstable trees leaning over homes, but at a cost of $600 or more, many homeowners aren’t able to pay for the immediate removal of them. Beverly Hicks contacted the Problem Solvers out of fear a tree on her neighbor’s property would collapse on the room where her granddaughter sleeps. “I don’t want to get a call that the tree fell on my house and took her life,” she said. The Problem Solvers reached out to Hector Deluna of United Tree Service for assistance. Deluna’s trucks rolled up within an hour, much to Hicks’ surprise. Deluna introduced himself, quickly assessed the tree as being extremely dangerous and told Hicks, “we will take care of that problem so you can sleep safely for not a dime. You don’t pay!” Overcome with emotion, Hicks thanked Deluna. “He has no clue, I’m so thankful!” she said. Deluna brought his son and partner Jesus to the location, who tells FOX31 he is proud of his father’s commitment to giving back to the community…

Greenbiz, June 8, 2020: In California, a push grows to turn dead trees into biomass energy

Jonathan Kusel owns three pickups and a 45-foot truck for hauling woodchip bins. He operates a woodchip yard and a 35-kilowatt biomass plant that burns dead trees, and he runs a crew marking trees for loggers working in national forests. Those are a lot of blue-collar credentials for a University of California, Berkeley Ph.D sociologist known for his documentation of how the decline of the timber industry affects rural communities. What drove Kusel into a side business — logging small and dead trees and burning them in biomass boilers — is fear of fire. In 2007, the 65,000-acre Moonlight Fire blew flaming embers onto his lawn near Taylorsville, California as he readied his family to evacuate. In September, the Walker Fire scorched 54,614 acres just up the valley from the offices of the Sierra Institute for Community and Environment, the nonprofit research organization Kusel founded in 1993. In that 12-year span, wildfires burned 690 square miles in the northern Sierra Nevada. Drought, a warming climate and bark-beetle infestations also have killed 147 million California trees since 2013, most of them along the Sierra spine running south from Kusel’s home base past Lake Tahoe and Yosemite National Park to Tehachapi Pass, 75 miles north of Los Angeles. Scientists say these trees are poised to burn in California’s next round of megafires, threatening the range with blazes so intense they will leave some places unable to establish new forests…

Lansing, Michigan, Michigan Dept. of Agriculture & Rural Development, June 8, 2020: Protect trees and forests from invasive species; don’t move firewood

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development is reminding the public about the risk of accidentally spreading invasive species while moving firewood. New infestations of invasive pests or diseases can be devastating and pose a serious threat to Michigan’s agriculture, forests and the environment. Harmful invasive species, some of which are invisible to the naked eye, can hide in or on firewood. While most cannot move far on their own, these pests and diseases can be transported undetected on travelers’ firewood, starting new infestations in locations hundreds of miles away. These invasive species threaten native tree species without natural defenses against these pests and diseases. Infestations also can destroy forests, lower property values and cost huge sums of money to control. “It is nearly impossible to detect diseases – like thousand cankers disease, which affects walnut trees, or oak wilt in oak trees – just by looking at the wood,” said Mike Philip, director of MDARD’s Pesticide and Plant Pest Management Division. “Never assume wood appearing uninfested is safe to move.” Jason Fleming, chief of resource protection and promotion in the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Parks and Recreation Division, said awareness of these tree pests and diseases and a commitment to not move firewood are especially important at Michigan’s state parks, where many trees and forested areas have been devastated. “As camping resumes this year, we urge all campers to look to purchase firewood at the state park campgrounds, rather than bring wood with you,” Fleming said. “Typically, the firewood sold at state parks is affordable, locally sourced or heat-treated to eliminate pests and diseases…”

Wahpeton, North Dakota, Daily News, June 8, 2020: Phenology – It’s all about timing

What’s the first tree to break bud in the spring? I used to think that it was American elm, with its small flowers, barely tinged with a hint of red. This year, though, I observed more locations and new tree species. Red elderberry and the gooseberries had leaves growing before other species. A few days later and the flowers began showing up. Willows and quaking aspens were first, a few days before American elm. The technical term for timing in nature is “phenology.” Two things stand out about phenology. First, it’s relative. Some species break bud before others, consistently from one year to the next. Second, variability still occurs each year: When exactly will the cherry blossoms bloom? When should sugar maple trees be tapped to collect the sap to make maple syrup? In some years, we have an early spring, while in other years, it’s delayed…

Davenport, Iowa, Quad City Times, June 7, 2020: Urban trees don’t live as long as they should

Many urban trees live only about 20% of their normal life expectancy because of external issues such as pests and disease, but most stress can be linked back to improper care and installation, Kelly Allsup, University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator, said. A recent United States Department of Agriculture paper analyzing tree life expectancy in urban areas found the typical street tree lived between 19 and 28 years. To compare, the ideal life span of a white oak is 600 years, and the average life span of a red maple can be between 75 to 150 years in Midwest wilds. Urban trees must withstand pollution, poor soils, limited legroom for roots, and pressure from insects and disease. What’s worse, most are planted incorrectly, and their health and cultural requirements – sunshine, water, soil, and climate – are not monitored, Allsup said. Some basic knowledge of tree stresses can help your urban tree live longer…

Green Bay, Wisconsin, WBAY-TV, June 4, 2020: Stockbridge landmark burning with no way to put out the flames

Could the end be near for a natural treasure, most likely hundreds of years old, in the Town of Stockbridge in Calumet County? That’s the question being asked following Tuesday night’s storms when that landmark was damaged. The towering cottonwood tree in Lakeside Cemetery in Stockbridge is a local landmark. “A lot of people come down here. A lot of people know of the big tree at the cemetery,” says Stockbridge Fire Chief Mike Funk. And now they’re coming to see what happened to the tree during Tuesday night’s storms. According to Chief Funk, “A local resident had stopped at the fire station and informed us that that tree down at the Lakeside Cemetery was on fire.” The branches and trunk tell the story of the lightning bolt that made its way through the tree Tuesday night, causing it to burn. “They did their best to try and put the fire out,” says Chief Funk, adding, “Unfortunately, because of the lightning strike, the fire had started burning up already into the tree.” Fire made the tree glow as it burned on the inside of the trunk and up its branches. The fire chief says the cottonwood is very hollow, more than he could have imagined, and despite putting a thousand gallons of water on it and in it, the flames couldn’t all be put out…

Akron, Ohio, MSN, June 7, 2020: Akron debates whether to trim tree nuisance policy

Akron is looking to prune an overgrown tree nuisance policy. With unanimous approval of City Council, Mayor Dan Horrigan updated the city’s “trees and shrubs” law in 2016 with the “objective of establishing more efficient regulations to promote a healthy and safe tree population.” The rule change, meant to help with overall tree health, effectively turned the city’s arborist, previously only concerned with public property, into a referee for all disputes of tree roots and dead-but-still-standing trees that drop leaves, limbs and fruit onto neighboring lawns and cars. The amended law unleashed a floodgate on nuisance complaints, expanding the arborist’s jurisdiction (and what people can complain about) from public property to all property, including trees and roots that straddle residential backyards and side lots. Neighborly grievances previously dismissed as private matters were now taken up by the city, per the new rules. “The change to the definition of what is and what is not a nuisance tree essentially made it so that anyone could make a complaint about any tree in the city, that it was a nuisance in some way shape or form,” James Hardy, director of Akron’s Department of Integrated Development, told City Council last week…

Davenport, Iowa, Quad City Times, June 7, 2020: Chestnut, elm, ash — trees we have lost

The emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis) has plagued native ash trees in Illinois and Iowa since 2006 and 2010, respectively. This pest was first introduced in 2002 around the Detroit area and rapidly spread across Michigan and Indiana to infect most of Iowa and Illinois today. “Sadly, the emerald ash borer will eventually wipe out our native ash species as we know them, leaving a major void in our urban forests and natural areas since ash is currently so prevalent,” Ryan Pankau, a horticulture educator with University of Illinois Extension, said. “The age-old phrase ‘history repeats itself’ certainly holds true with exotic pests and diseases in North America.” Two such past incidences have caused the virtual elimination of American elm and American chestnut trees across our continent. The impact of chestnut blight was extensive. The American chestnut’s native range spans more than 20 states in the eastern U.S., from Maine to Georgia, and accounted for about 50% of the eastern deciduous forest…

Redding, California, Record-Searchlight, June 7, 2020: This may be why your citrus tree drops immature fruit

Q: My mandarin tree is dropping its tiny green fruits. Can you tell me why this is happening? The amount that is falling seems to be a lot more than normal.
A: It’s normal for all types of citrus trees to drop some immature fruit at this time of year. This self-thinning is nature’s way of making sure the tree does not become too overburdened with fruit. However, if your tree is dropping a lot of the immature fruit then it could be for one of several reasons. I have listed a few of the most common ones below. Changes in weather can stress your citrus tree and cause fruit to drop. We have experienced some extremes in the weather the past couple of weeks, with an almost 50-degree difference in temperatures from one day to the next. I’m not sure what variety of Mandarin you have, but the Satsuma Mandarins — while cold tolerant — are very sensitive to the heat and are more likely to drop immature fruit than other varieties when temperatures spike in May and June…

U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, June 4, 2020: Tree Census and a Wealth of Public Data

As our country sets out on the monumental task of conducting the U.S. census, the USDA Forest Service is conducting a census of its own – the Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA). Researchers conducting the FIA, also known as “America’s tree census,” measure trees, collect data and catalogue sample areas in research plots all over the U.S. According to FIA, currently, there are nearly 300 billion trees in the United States. But the program does more than just count trees. There are also several other measurements being gathered; a 580-page manual worth of measurements to be exact. “The data tells a story,” said Greg Reams, national program lead with the Forest Inventory and Analysis team. “Categories of data we collect include land use change into and out of forest land, soils work, carbon sequestration, and tracking wood that is on the ground, information which is critical for fire modelers to calculate wildfire risk ratings.” After locating the plot using aerial imagery, crews often hike for miles through difficult terrain just to get to the site. Once there, crew members measure the trees and catalogue damage from invasive species, fire and weather events. Crew members also measure dead trees, downed material and understory vegetation, which can act as wildlife habitat as well as fuel for wildfire…

Houston, Texas, KHOU-TV, June 4, 2020: Texas tree service worker accused of assaulting black man, using racial slur

DeVonta Brown didn’t think a simple trip to grab a cup of coffee before work would end in his assault. He was going through the drive-thru of a McDonald’s in McKinney on Monday when the driver of a truck drove the wrong way and cut him off. Brown walked up to the truck with his cell phone recording the exchange. The man inside could be heard saying the N-word multiple times.
“You could see it in his eyes. You could see the hate in his eyes,” Brown said. That driver, identified as Christopher Taylor, was later arrested on an assault charge, according to the McKinney Police Department. Taylor is accused of headbutting Brown and spitting on him, according to Brown. The video of the interaction was shared thousands of times on social media. Brown said what he experienced is nothing new to him. But, he said, it was the most blatant act of racism he has experienced. “Just trying to make it home to my wife is a challenge every day. [Enough] is enough,” Brown said. WFAA made several attempts to reach Taylor through Chris Taylor Tree Service by phone and text message but did not receive a response…

LeGrand, Oregon, Observer, June 4, 2020: Forest Service considers ending ban on logging larger trees

A rule change under review by the U.S. Forest Service could end a long-standing provision that prevents the harvest of trees greater than 21 inches in diameter on six national forests in Eastern Oregon and Washington. The limitation on harvesting trees of that size was put in place 25 years ago under a land-management plan amendment known as the Eastside Screens. At the time the Eastside Screens were established as a suite of temporary land management provisions designed to protect water resources and wildlife habitats. Land managers needed to take into account, or screen, the provisions before moving forward with management activities such as timber harvests. What’s under consideration is revising just one provision of the Eastside Screens — the limit on cutting trees larger than 21 inches in diameter, also known as the 21-inch rule. The 21-inch rule has come under scrutiny by the Forest Service because of overcrowded stands of trees that are now deemed a wildfire hazard. The proposal to remove the rule would give managers more flexibility when designing projects, especially landscape forest restoration treatments, said Stephen Baker, regional media officer for Forest Service in the Pacific Northwest region…

Boston, Massachusetts, WBUR Radio, June 4, 2020: Dead And Dying Trees Have More Methane In Their Soil, Study Finds

Of all the troubled trees in Chelsea, there’s one that’s taken root in Roseann Bongiovanni’s mind. “If I remember correctly, it was on Bellingham Hill,” Bongiovanni says. “They would plant this street tree, care for it, the city would go and water it, and then maybe a year later they would see that it died.” This happened over and over, says Bongiovanni, the executive director of GreenRoots, an environmental justice non-profit in Chelsea. “This tree would die no mater what the city did,” she recalls. “So after seeing a tree die in the same place multiple times, we started to think, ‘OK, what’s going on here?'” Bongiovanni suspected that gas leaks were playing a role, not just with that tree, but with many dead and dying trees across the city. And trees matter in Chelsea, a densely populated city where urban heat effects and air pollution can compromise the health of residents. “We’re a community that believes heavily in having more street trees,” Bongiovanni says. “There are so many different reasons why street trees are really important.” Street trees cool sidewalks, absorb pollution, and offset greenhouse gas emissions. “I can tell you what it feels like to walk down a tree-lined street in the summer and then walk down a street that had no trees,” says Madeleine Scammell, a Chelsea resident and professor of environmental health at Boston University School of Public Health. “That’s the case here in Chelsea. A lot of the streets where there are just no trees, it is so much hotter. “Scammell says that many people have long suspected that natural gas leaks harm trees, but there’s been little proof…

Yale Environment 360, June 3, 2020: How Small Family Forests Can Help Meet the Climate Challenge

Tim Leiby had wrapped up a fun but fruitless early-morning turkey hunt and was enjoying an old John Wayne flick when I arrived at Willow Lodge near Blain, Pennsylvania. A few flurries drifted down on this unseasonably cold May morning. After a quick scan of antlers mounted on virtually every wall of the cozy hunting lodge, we headed out for a socially distanced stroll through what Leiby calls “our little piece of heaven.” This 95-acre woods in south-central Pennsylvania’s ridge-and-valley country is a hunting and hiking refuge co-owned by eight families. As much as he loves it, Leiby knows it could be even better. The forest is still recovering from heavy logging in the 1980s, and it’s full of invasive or unwanted plants — he points out striped maple, princess tree, and barberry — that do little for wildlife and keep desired hardwoods like oak and hickory from regenerating. “Barberry is a terrible invasive around here,” Leiby says. “It’s choking out the ground cover.” Small family-owned forests like this one make up 38 percent of U.S. forests — together more than 1.5 times the area of Texas, and more than any other ownership type. While most owners want to do right by their land, they rarely have access to the needed expertise or resources. That, however, may be changing. In April, the environmental nonprofits The Nature Conservancy (TNC), American Forest Foundation (AFF), and Vermont Land Trust announced two new programs, powered by a $10-million rocket boost from the tech giant Amazon, to funnel funds from carbon emitters to small landowners like Leiby eager to grow larger, healthier forests…

Counterpunch, June 4, 2020: The Problem With Chainsaw Medicine: the Forest Service’s Move to Cut Oregon’s Big Trees

The Forest Service is proposing to remove the prohibition against logging trees larger than 21 inches that grow in national forests on the eastside of the Cascades in Oregon. The probation was put into place when ecological studies demonstrated the critical importance of large-diameter old-growth trees to overall forest ecosystem function. The Forest Service argues that it needs the flexibility to cut larger fir and other tree species competing with ponderosa pine to “restore” forest health. The agency suggests thinning the forests will enhance the resilience of the forest against the “ravages” of wildfire, bark beetles, and other sources of tree mortality. The so-called need for “restoration” to what ails the forest by chainsaws medicine reflects the agency’s Industrial Forestry Paradigm. By happy coincidence, such “restoration” happens to provide wood fiber to the timber industry, and typically at a loss to taxpayers. One might assume that green and fast-growing trees are more desirable than dead or slow-growing trees. What the agency doesn’t acknowledge due to its inherent Industrial Forestry bias is that healthy forest ecosystems require significant sources of tree mortality. The healthy forest that the Forest Service promotes is a degraded forest ecosystem…

Windsor, Ontario, Star, June 3, 2020: Thieves lift newly planted trees from senior’s yard

In a brazen act of thievery, four freshly planted trees, lovingly planted by her grandson a few weeks before, were dug up in the wee hours of the night from the front yard of a Windsor grandmother. Firefighter Adam Kunder wanted to do something nice for his 89-year-old grandma Shirley Horwitz for both Mother’s Day and her recent birthday. Horwitz has lived in her downtown Victoria Avenue home for approximately 50 years and the landscaping in her front yard had not been touched for about 30 years. So Kunder, who also owns a landscaping company, decided to redesign and re-plant the gardens in early May.“We tore everything out, I designed it and we installed all new plants, new stone,” Kunder said. “My grandma was so stoked about it.” But sometime overnight Saturday, thieves made off with two blue spruce globe standards and two limelight hydrangea standards, worth approximately $1,000. “I was actually at work, I was at the fire hall and my mom gave me a call and basically said that my grandmother came outside and looked to the left and looked to the right and a bunch of the trees were dug up,” Kunder said. “Basically now there’s just four big holes across her front lawn and landscaping bed…”

Lansdale, Pennsylvania, Reporter, June 3, 2020: From the Ground Up: Trees are for all ages: Plant them everywhere

For his birthday last month, all my friend Elliot wanted was an apricot tree. Yep, just a tree, nothing else. That’s not really too remarkable, for someone to ask for one single, big, lasting thing. For myself, as I get “on in years” I find that there’s little that I want in terms of tangible presents. I’m at an age where health and financial security, along with family and friends, feel like the best gifts. With those in place, I don’t feel the need for much more—though I’ll never say no to something for the yard or garden! In Elliot’s case, though, it’s different. Because Elliot is nine years old. And I don’t know any other child who would ask for a fruit tree — and nothing else — for a birthday present. Happily, the family had already selected the tree just before the stay-at-home order was announced. The tree arrived about a month before the actual birthday. Elliot helped his dad dig a good, welcoming hole, install the 8-foot tree, tamp down the earth, lay a circle of stones, and then a circle of wire fencing to keep out the deer. The day I went to visit, the tree looked healthy and happy, and as if it had been growing there for a while. End of story? Not quite. In so many ways, this little boy has typical nine-year-old passions; he loves Legos and dragons, Minecraft and Star Wars. But there’s a thoughtful, wise, compassionate part of him, too; a part that gets expressed not only in the wish for an apricot tree, but also in the vision of starting his own non-profit organization to encourage people to plant more trees. The name he’s come up with describes the concept: “Plant Trees Everywhere…”

New Orleans, Louisiana, Times Picayune, June 2, 2020: Get trees, yard, home ready to weather the winds and rain of storm season 2020: Dan Gill

Each year, I approach hurricane season with a touch of dread — something that will stay with me until the end of November when the season is over. Predictions that hurricane activity will be above average this season don’t help a bit. Being well-prepared is the best tonic for reducing dread. From the perspective of landscape preparation, when hurricane season arrives trees are always on my mind. You can’t deny the benefits that trees bring to New Orleans. They add beauty, increase property values, benefit us psychologically, clean the air, provide wildlife habitat and shade our homes and outdoor living areas in the summer. Our city would be a different and much less agreeable place without them. When hurricanes threaten, however, the less desirable aspects of trees around our homes must be considered. Trees blowing over in the high winds of hurricanes can be extremely destructive. Now is the time to walk around your yard and look over your shade trees to assess their condition. Pay special attention to older, larger trees that are close enough to your house to hit it should they fall. Of course, any trees that are dead or in very poor condition should be removed as soon as possible. Do not delay dealing with this. Dead or dying trees pose a major hazard during the high winds of hurricanes. Even trees with relatively healthy-looking canopies can have issues. Look for trees that show large cavities or significant decay in their trunks. Sometimes the rot is not obvious…

Springfield, Missouri, News-Leader, June 2, 2020: Why Missouri State removed 24 mature trees along Grand Street

Twenty-four large, mature trees along Grand Street near National Avenue that provided white blooms each year are gone. Missouri State University, which removed the trees from the parking lot fence row on Grand — between National and Dollison Avenue — says it was acting in the best interest of the campus and surrounding neighborhoods. “We were really happy to get them out,” said Jason Rhea, MSU’s assistant director of facility management grounds services. Rhea said the Callery pear trees were likely planted after the underpass that connects that parking lots and the south side of campus was built in the 1980s. At the time, the ornamental tree popular in urban landscapes was thought to be sterile. A variant of the Bradford pear, the Callery pear trees hybridized with other pear species, which resulted in a fast-growing tree now considered invasive along fence lines and the forests in Missouri. “They are becoming a real issue,” he said. “They are really quick growing and they are brittle.” The Springfield campus of MSU has 2,035 trees representing 115 species and employs three certified arborists. They are involved in deciding what to plant and where…

United Press International, June 2, 2020: Study: The world lost 30 million acres of tree cover in 2019

The world lost tree cover the size of a soccer field every six seconds in 2019, totaling nearly 30 million acres, with a third of that loss coming from the mature rainforest, a new study released Tuesday said. The mature rainforest is needed for biodiversity and carbon storage, the Global Forest Watch said. Last year’s forest loss was 2.8 percent higher than in 2018, the study said.”At least 1.8 gigatons of carbon dioxide emissions are associated with 2019 primary forest loss, equivalent to the annual emissions of 400 million cars,” Global Forest Watch said in a statement. “Though the rate of primary forest loss was lower in 2019 than record years of 2016 and 2017, it was still the third-highest since the turn of the century.” The study said Brazil accounted for more than one-third of the humid tropical primary forest loss globally. It said the loss in 2019 was the third highest in the past 13 years. “Naturally occurring fires in the Brazilian Amazon and other tropical rainforests are very rare,” the report said. “Often, fires signal previous deforestation. Farmers and ranchers commonly set fire to recently deforested land to clear branches and stumps. Fire also plays a role in agricultural cycles, so land that had been cleared of forest in years past may be burned again to prepare for re-planting or to clear weeds from pastures…”

Panama City, Florida, WJHG-TV, June 2, 2020: Caught on Camera: people cutting down trees in Topsail Hill Preserve State Park

Topsail Hill Preserve State Park is said to be one of the hidden gems of Walton County. Bill Potter is a neighbor, who not only lives right next to the park but is also a regular volunteer. Potter said he had a tense interaction with the people cutting down the trees this weekend. “Frankly, I was flabbergasted,” said Potter. Potter received a call from his neighbor Saturday afternoon, about something strange happening in Topsail Hill Preserve State Park in Walton County. “I thought he was going to call the ranger but he charged on down there.” When Potter got there, he says he saw his neighbors cutting down trees in the state park. “I have a feeling you don’t work for topsail,” said Potter in the video. Potter says he tried to keep them around until law enforcement arrived… But they got away. His neighbor, Garret Barry posted the video on Facebook, hoping someone would recognize them. According to Jeff Talbert, who is familiar with topsail hill, it is illegal to tamper with wildlife or nature in a state park…

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Thomson Reuters, June 2, 2020: No let-up in global rainforest loss as coronavirus brings new danger

Tropical rainforests disappeared at a rate of one football pitch every six seconds last year, researchers said on Tuesday, urging countries to include forest protection in post-pandemic plans. The loss in 2019 of 3.8 million hectares (9.3 million acres) of tropical primary forest – which means intact areas of old-growth trees – was the third biggest decline since the turn of the century, according to data from Global Forest Watch (GFW). “Primary forests are the areas we are the most concerned about – they have the biggest implications for carbon and biodiversity,” said Mikaela Weisse, a project manager at the GFW forest monitoring service, run by the World Resources Institute. “The fact that we are losing them so rapidly is really concerning,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. Loss of primary forest, which hit a record high in 2016 and 2017, was 2.8% higher in 2019 than the year before. Agricultural expansion, wildfires, logging, mining and population growth all contribute to deforestation, according to GFW researchers. Cutting down forests has major implications for global goals to curb climate change, as trees absorb about a third of the planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions produced worldwide…

Phoenix, Arizona, KNXV-TV, June 1, 2020: FD: Palm tree trimmer dies after incident with wires in Phoenix backyard

A tree trimmer has died after an incident at a Phoenix home Monday morning. Phoenix fire officials say they received a tree rescue call near 28th Street and Campbell Avenue around 9 a.m., but that call turned into a body recovery. The trimmer is believed to have made contact with electrical lines, electrocuting himself while working on a backyard palm tree. Fire officials say the victim was not showing signs of life or responding when fire officials arrived. Power company workers headed to the scene to secure the electrical lines in order for crews to recover the man’s body…

Santa Barbara, California, Noozhawk, June 1, 2020: Save Tree-trimming For Months That End With Letter ‘R’

The Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network (SBWCN) has seen a disturbing increase in the number of patients orphaned as a result of tree-trimming practices across Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. During spring and summer, wild animals are actively nesting. Many nesting animals, especially those that nest in tree cavities such as woodpeckers and squirrels, are in serious danger of losing their nests and their lives to tree trimming. The Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network (SBWCN) recommends that tree-trimming be saved for months ending in the letter “R” to avoid nesting season. If trimming a tree is absolutely necessary, ask your arborist to learn whether they know the signs of active nesting, how to look for nests, and the legal consequences for knocking down or destroying nests…

London, UK, The Times, June 1, 2020: Millionaire Chris Kiley accused of felling protected trees

A millionaire businessman has been accused of cutting down protected trees at his seafront home and turning the grounds into a private racetrack. Chris Kiley, 66, who owns a chain of supermarkets, lives in a nature reserve in south Wales. Neighbours have lodged complaints about work and noise coming from the £2.5 million home overlooking Caswell Bay on the Gower peninsula, the first area in Britain to be designated an area of outstanding natural beauty. Residents claimed that trees were being cut down illegally on a protected site and that Mr Kiley and his friends were using the grounds as a “racing track” for off-road bikes…

Charleston, South Carolina, Post & Courier, May 31, 2020: Commentary: We sorted the facts on Charleston tree-cutting and found real solutions

All over Charleston, citizens are suddenly being jolted by the sounds of chainsaws cutting the trees in front of their house. There are big, burly men with big trucks butchering the trees, and if homeowners challenge them, they often are rudely dismissed and told that Dominion Energy has an agreement with the city to allow the cutting. The outraged citizens then call their City Council member who says, yes, there is such an agreement and there’s nothing that can be done. This is exactly what happened to us — but we refused to accept that nothing could be done. We went to work and discovered a lot of “fake facts.” We researched the “real facts” and started StopDominion.com to develop and push for real solutions. In short: A lot can be done, and the city is the only entity that can do it. And it won’t happen unless citizens make it happen. Fake Fact No. 1: Dominion has convinced many people, including some city officials, that it is a simple choice: pretty trees or reliable electricity. Real Fact: This is a false choice and simply not true. Many cities all over the country have developed commonsense policies to have both…

University if California Agriculture & Natural Resources, May 31, 2020: Watch Out For Invasive Shot Hole Borers on Your Landscape Trees

Watch out for these insects! Invasive shot hole borers (ISHB) represent two related species of beetles (polyphagous and Kuroshio) in the genus Euwallacea. Both spread fusarium dieback, a disease that restricts the flow of water and nutrients in the tree, resulting in dead branches, dropped limbs, and even death. Over 60 species of native and non-native ornamental trees and avocados in Southern California are susceptible the ISHB/fusarium dieback complex.Examples of known hosts of the ISHB/fusarium dieback complex include: Box Elder (Acer negundo), Avocado (Persea americana), English Oak (Quercus robur), Valley Oak (Quercus lobata), California coast live oak (Quercus agrifolia), Big leaf maple (Acer macrophyhllum) silk tree (Albizia julibrissin) Liquidambar (Liquidambar styraciflua), Coral tree (Erythrina coralladendron), California sycamore (Platanus racemose), Blue Palo Verde (Cercidium floridum), Purple orchid tree (Bauhinia variegate), Kurrajong (Brachychiton populneus); and many species of Acacia.The beetles are native to Southeast Asia and were likely introduced into California in shipped goods, wood products, or packaging. While tiny (about the size of a sesame seed), they are prolific, tunneling into host trees and living and reproducing in galleries while feasting on the disease-causing fungus they spread from tree to tree…

London, UK, Daily Mail, June 1, 2020: Don’t leaf me here, Mum! Mischievous boy, 4, gets stuck inside a TREE with only his head and arm sticking out and has to be rescued by a stranger during first family outing since lockdown

A cheeky little boy managed to get stuck inside a tree with only his head and arm sticking out a tiny hole at the top – before a kind-hearted ‘hero’ rescued him. Finley Ibrahim, four, was exploring the woods in Eastham Country Park, Merseyside, with two of his brothers when he slithered into a hole in a tree trunk and couldn’t get back out. His mum Lindsey Ibrahim was called over to the tree by Finley’s older brother Riley, seven, but her bad back meant she couldn’t pull her son out of the bizarre predicament he’d managed to get into. Since her husband Terry Ibrahim, 40, was working from home around 10 minutes drive away, Lindsey was forced to seek help from a man who was at the park with his family. After around 15 minutes of being jammed in the stump, Finley was pulled out of the top of the trunk by the dad who came over and climbed the tree ‘like spiderman’…

Abilene, Texas, Reporter-News, May 31, 2020: Bruce Kreitler: Trees take no prisoners in fight for resources

One thing you have to admire about trees, is that they are pretty upfront about their intentions. No beating around the bush for a tree. Once a tree sprouts out of the ground, it means to grow as tall as it can, gather as much of the available resources as it can, and look out for No. 1, with no regard whatsoever for any other plants. Frankly, as far as competing plants goes, and this includes other trees, the plant world is extremely competitive, and is all about who can kill whom first. When you are looking at an untended tree growing somewhere, what you are seeing is the survivor of an ongoing, never-ending, battle for supremacy. Growing plants look placid enough, but they are always struggling for their very survival, to out-compete their neighbors. Because of how the competition for, and sequestration of, resources works in the plant world, successful trees of any real size have two big effects on their environment. First, over time, a sizable tree is going to gather a lot of resources, in one spot. You and I may look at a tree and see a lot of wood and foliage, and be aware that there also exists a large root system to support it, but a lot of other things look at that same picture and see food, and survival, or propagation. The only thing between everything that would like to feed on what trees have gathered, and the tree, is whatever the tree can do to defend itself…

San Francisco, California, Chronicle, May 28, 2020: 2nd tree this week drops limb at SF’s Washington Square Park

A ficus tree bordering Washington Square Park in San Francisco shed a roughly 12-foot-long limb Wednesday evening, the second tree in as many days to drop a branch near the North Beach park in as many days. No one was injured as a result of the 2-inch-diameter limb dropping off, but the event is jarring in light of the fallen branch that injured five people, including a young child, at the park on Tuesday. There were no major injuries reported as a result of that incident, though the child was taken to a hospital as a precaution, evaluated and released. The ficus that dropped the limb Wednesday was one of seven trees along Columbus Avenue that the Public Works Department had planned to cut down and replace last year. They were deemed to be too risky to leave standing. Public Works is responsible for San Francisco’s roughly 125,000 street trees. The Recreation and Park Department oversees the 131,000 trees dotting the city’s thousands of acres of parks — it was a park tree that dropped its limb Tuesday. Four years ago, a 100-pound limb fell on Emma Zhou’s head while she was watching her two children play in Washington Square Park, paralyzing her from the waist down. In 2018, the city agreed to pay $14.5 million to settle her legal claims…

US News and World Report, May 28, 2020: Regulators Approve PG&E Bankruptcy Plan Despite Safety Fears

California power regulators on Thursday unanimously approved Pacific Gas & Electric’s $58 billion plan for getting out of a bankruptcy caused by a series of deadly wildfires, despite ongoing worries about the utility’s ability to safely operate its crumbling electrical grid. The vote by the Public Utilities Commission came just a few hours after a federal judge ripped the company for continuing to engage in reckless behavior that he believes is endangering even more lives. U.S. District Judge William Alsup blasted PG&E for “flim flamming” him about its newfound commitment to safety in previous hearings. He also raised worries that state power regulators haven’t done enough to prevent “a recalcitrant criminal” from causing more death and destruction as the risk of wildfires rises with the summer temperatures. “If there ever was a corporation that deserved to go to prison, it is PG&E,” Alsup said. After enduring Alsup’s scorn, PG&E cleared a key hurdle to end its nearly year-and-half bankruptcy with the PUC’s approval of a complex plan resolving more than $50 billion in claimed losses after the company was blamed for igniting a series of catastrophic wildfires in 2017 and 2018. The Northern California fires killed more than 100 people and destroyed more than 27,000 homes and other buildings…

Phys.org, May 28, 2020: Global environmental changes leading to shorter, younger trees

Ongoing environmental changes are transforming forests worldwide, resulting in shorter and younger trees with broad impacts on global ecosystems, scientists say. In a global study published in the May 29 issue of the journal Science, researchers led by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory found that rising temperatures and carbon dioxide have been altering the world’s forests through increased stress and carbon dioxide fertilization and through increasing the frequency and severity of disturbances such as wildfire, drought, wind damage and other natural enemies. Combined with forest harvest, the Earth has witnessed a dramatic decrease in the age and stature of forests. “This trend is likely to continue with climate warming,” said Nate McDowell, a PNNL Earth scientist and the study’s lead author. “A future planet with fewer large, old forests will be very different than what we have grown accustomed to. Older forests often host much higher biodiversity than young forests and they store more carbon than young forests.” Carbon storage and rich biodiversity are both keys to mitigate climate change. The study concluded, “Pervasive shifts in forest dynamics in a changing world,” determined that forests have already been altered by humans and will mostly likely continue to be altered in the foreseeable future, resulting in a continued reduction of old-growth forests globally…

Sacramento, California, Bee, May 28, 2020: Contractor electrocuted while working on trees in Sacramento, fire officials say

A contractor for a landscaping company was electrocuted by a power line Thursday while working on trees in Sacramento’s Land Park neighborhood, according to fire authorities. Fire and utility crews responded around 10:45 a.m. to the 1300 block of Marian Way for reports of a tree fire, according to a tweet by the Sacramento Fire Department. There was no fire upon arrival, but a man, in approximately his mid 40s, was found in a tree about 50 feet off the ground with apparent injuries caused by a nearby power line, Fire Department spokesman Capt. Keith Wade said. The injuries appear to be caused by high-powered electricity, and the man was unresponsive, Wade said. Wade said the man was pronounced dead at the scene…

San Francisco, California, Chronicle, May 27, 2020: Another tree limb injures people at SF’s Washington Square, raising questions about maintenance

The tree that shed a limb that injured five people at Washington Square Park Tuesday was a mature sycamore that had received a “good” bill of health following its last inspection in June 2017, officials with San Francisco’s Recreation and Park Department said Wednesday. None of the five people sustained serious injuries, although one, a juvenile, was taken to the hospital as a precaution, evaluated and released. But the episode has raised the memory of another, tragic accident at Washington Square four years earlier, when Emma Zhou was paralyzed from the waist down after she was struck on the head by a 100-pound branch that cracked off a pine tree while she was watching her two young children in the park’s playground. Two years later, the city paid $14.5 million to settle legal claims with Zhou…

New York City, WNBC-TV, May 27, 2020: 50-Foot Tree Falls on 4 People in Riverside Park

A massive, 50-foot tree fell onto four people who were enjoying a warm Wednesday out by the Hudson, sending at least three of them to the hospital. Witnesses described seeing the tree in Riverside Park falling in slow-motion before making a thunderous noise when it made contact with the ground near 92nd Street around 6 p.m. “It sounded like a gunshot. It was very scary,” a witness told NBC New York. One woman who was sitting on a bench was pinned right in between two large branches but the tree missed her by inches, another witness said.”I spoke to her and I said, ‘this is the luckiest day of your life,'” said the witness. After paramedics arrived at the scene, they were seen putting at least two patients on stretchers before transporting them to St. Lukes Hospital. Another woman was able to walk as she was treated for her injuries. The extent of their injuries is unclear. What caused the tree to fall is also unknown. The unfortunate incident was reminiscent of a similar scene in Central Park that occurred three years ago. A 75-foot oak tree there fell on a woman who was with her three young children. Witnesses also rushed to the scene then to help her out…

Oakland, California, Eastbay Times, May 27, 2020: Lafayette grudgingly allows PG&E to cut down 141 trees

The Lafayette City Council reluctantly agreed to grant a permit for a PG&E plan to remove 141 trees along two well-traveled roads — because the city has no legal authority to regulate the utility’s project. During the Tuesday remote meeting, city officials — and residents who submitted email letters criticizing PG&E — pointed out several concerns about the plan to uproot trees, many of them oak trees, along St. Mary’s and Moraga roads. “It really comes down to PG&E,” Mayor Mike Anderson said. “It’s their responsibility, and their reputation and credibility on the line that requires them to do a good job of informing the public.” Pacific Gas & Electric will begin a gas pipeline project in the area June 1 with the road closures, and the electric lines and tree removal begins June 14 with a different crew. The projects will be going on from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays through Aug. 14. PG&E utility will host a community webinar on the pipeline and tree-removal projects from 5 to 6 p.m. Thursday at https://primetime.bluejeans.com/a2m/live-event/adpsfgcv. PG&E said it needs to remove the trees, clear branches and trim vegetation because Lafayette is located in one of the East Bay’s high-risk wildfire zones. The utility is also combining the tree removal with a separate project to replace part of a gas pipeline along St. Mary’s Road to increase capacity. The utility was given a permit for that project earlier…

BBC, May 27, 2020: The tree that changed the world map

Unfurling in a carpet of green where the Andes and Amazon basin meet in south-western Peru, Manú National Park is one of the most biodiverse corners of the planet: a lush, 1.5-million hectare Unesco-inscribed nature reserve wrapped in mist, covered in a chaos of vines and largely untouched by humans. But if you hack your way through the rainforest’s dense jungle, cross its rushing rivers and avoid the jaguars and pumas, you may see one of the few remaining specimens of the endangered cinchona officinalis tree. To the untrained eye, the thin, 15m-tall tree may blend into the thicketed maze. But the flowering plant, which is native to the Andean foothills, has inspired many myths and shaped human history for centuries. “This may not be a well-known tree,” said Nataly Canales, who grew up in the Peruvian Amazonian region of Madre de Dios. “Yet, a compound extracted from this plant has saved millions of lives in human history.” Today, Canales is a biologist at the National Museum of Denmark who is tracing the genetic history of cinchona. As she explained, it was the bark of this rare tree that gave the world quinine, the world’s first anti-malarial drug. And while the discovery of quinine was welcomed by the world with both excitement and suspicion hundreds of years ago, in recent weeks, this tree’s medical derivatives have been at the centre of another heated global debate. Synthetic versions of quinine – such as chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine – have been touted and largely disputed as possible..

San Francisco, California, KPIX-TV, May 26, 2020: 2-Year-Old Hospitalized, 4 Others Injured After Tree Limb Falls In San Francisco’s Washington Square Park

San Francisco police and fire units responded Tuesday evening after a large tree limb fell in North Beach’s Washington Square Park, causing minor injuries to five people. San Francisco police confirmed that a large tree limb fell in the park and that branches from the limb struck a group of people. The good news was that the injuries appeared to be minor, police said. Police later said that one juvenile were transported to the hospital as a precautionary measures and four other people were treated and released at the scene for non-life threatening injuries. A section of the park was cordoned off by police tape where the limb came down. Emergency responders were seen with a stretcher at the scene. A witness who was shaken up by the incident said “it was a big explosion” that sent debris and splinters flying. “Everybody just ran over and picked up the tree branch and asked if there was anybody underneath,” the woman told KPIX 5…

Nashville, Tennessee, WKRN-TV, May 26, 2020: Antioch man accused of shooting at neighbors for being on his lawn

An Antioch man told his neighbors he was “going to kill them for being illegal,” then fired gunshots in their direction as they ran for cover, according to a police report. Metro officers responded Sunday evening to a report of gunshots fired at a duplex on Richards Road off Una Antioch Pike. An arrest affidavit states Felix Hernandez, who had been staying at the duplex, returned home to find his neighbors standing in the grass. The paperwork alleges the 40-year-old yelled at the neighbors to get off the lawn, then walked away and returned a short time later with a gun pointed at them. After stating he was going to kill them, police said Hernandez fired two gunshots. While the neighbors were not hit, officers revealed they were injured while running for cover. Both victims were transported to TriStar Southern Hills Medical Center for treatment of undisclosed injuries. Hernandez was arrested and booked into the Metro jail Tuesday morning on two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon…

Cleveland, Ohio, WOIO-TV, May 26, 2020: ODOT addresses perennial problem of dead trees along the Shoreway in Cleveland

Crews are once again removing dead trees and planting new trees along the Shoreway in Cleveland. 19 News has been reporting on the story extensively, dating back to 2017, when the trees were first planted as part of the Lakefront West project, transitioning the Shoreway into a Boulevard. In 2018, one year after the initial planting, many of the trees died. One year later, in 2019, the new trees were also dead. “In mid-May work started in the median to remove dead trees, improve tree planting conditions, plant 51 condition-tolerant trees, plant 100 trees outside of the median, and ornamental grasses that are more suitable for the environmental conditions present,” said ODOT spokesperson Amanda McFarland. Davey Tree has been hired as a consultant to oversee the planting of the trees. Soil and root samples were taken to better understand why the trees weren’t growing. “Conditions in certain areas along the Shoreway weren’t conducive to trees and landscaping,” said MacFarland…

Miami, Florida, Herald, May 26, 2020: Cherry trees slammed by virus in Oregon, Washington this year. Is the harvest ruined?

If you stop at a fruit stand in Washington or Oregon this year, you might notice fewer cherries than normal, and the ones you do find may not be as sweet. Why? A virus that has commonly plagued cherry harvests in California and Canada is wreaking havoc on the Northwest’s cherry trees, forcing growers to chop down infected trees, Oregon Public Broadcasting reported. “Little cherry disease” hasn’t reared its ugly head in Washington since the 1950s, when acres of trees were cleared out in orchards around the state, according to Washington State University. The virus makes cherries smaller and more bitter because it reduces the sugar content of the fruit, WSU says. Since the disease can spread like wildfire from tree to tree in an orchard, trees that become infected with the disease have to be chopped down, according to the Associated Press. Symptoms vary between the types of cherry trees; Lambert and Bing, which are highly susceptible to the virus, look smaller with lighter colors, while Van and Sam might reach normal size, but the flavor is still affected, WSU says. “They’re small and pale, but they’re either bland or bitter,” Tianna DuPoint of WSU Extension in Wenatchee, Washington, told Oregon Public Broadcasting. “So they won’t hurt you if you eat them, but they’re not marketable…

Charleston, South Carolina, Post & Courier, May 23, 2020: Editorial: To end controversial Charleston tree trimming, get at the problem’s root

There are few news tips as frequent, as emotional and, sadly, as predictable as a neighborhood upset over work to trim trees from power lines. So it’s hardly surprising that after Dominion Energy’s contractors geared up to work south of Broad Street in downtown Charleston, there was a fresh backlash from residents. Befitting the large, influential neighborhood, residents formed a group called “Stop Dominion” and asked City Hall to rewrite its recent agreement with Dominion to minimize trimming and ensure it’s done in a more sensitive way. Protecting our trees and the beauty they add to the Lowcountry is important. But those who want to push back at the tree trimming status quo should aim higher than the city’s oversight of tree trimming. They should set their sights on the arm of state government that regulates utilities as well as on the city and utility officials who ultimately work together to decide how many power lines are placed underground. Simply put, city leaders feel there are limits on how far they can go in regulating the cutting. Yes, the city did strike an agreement with Dominion in which the city receives notice of tree trimming work on grand trees, but that work still is subject to trimming standards the utility feels it needs to minimize the chance its lines will be damaged by a downed tree limb during a major storm. “If we were to impose standards, they (Dominion officials) would challenge,” Charleston attorney Chip McQueeney says. “Ultimately, what a judge is going to hear is tree protection versus electricity protection, and we’re going to lose that every time…”

Phys.org, May 25, 2020, Scientists find genes to save ash trees from deadly beetle

An international team of scientists have identified candidate resistance genes that could protect ash trees from the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB), a deadly pest that is expected to kill billions of trees worldwide. In the new study, published today in Nature Ecology & Evolution, researchers from Queen Mary University of London and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, sequenced the genomes of 22 species of ash tree (Fraxinus) from around the world and used this information to analyze how the different species are related to each other. Meanwhile, collaborators from the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service in Ohio tested resistance of over 20 ash tree species to EAB by hatching eggs attached to the bark of trees, and following the fate of the beetle larvae. Resistant ash trees generally killed the larvae when they burrowed into their stems, but susceptible ones did not. The research team observed that several of the resistant species were more closely related to susceptible species than to other resistant species. This meant the UK-based genome scientists were able to find resistance genes, by looking for places within the DNA where the resistant species were similar, but showed differences from their susceptible relatives…

Salem, Oregon, Statesman Journal, May 22, 2020: Valley of the Giants, saved by Salem barber, features Oregon’s largest and oldest trees

There comes a moment, during the drive from Salem to the Valley of the Giants trailhead, when even the most mature adults transform into 6-year-old children. Are we there yet? No, seriously. Are. We. There. Yet? Although just 33 miles from Salem as the crow flies, the route to this hidden grove requires navigating a labyrinth of rough and unmarked logging roads deep into the Coast Range. Time seems to melt away on winding, car-sick-inducing curves that pass the ghost town of Valsetz and follow the Siletz River on a drive that totals about two hours and 15 minutes. But then you arrive. All the journey’s frustration vanishes into the breeze on a 1.6 mile trail below titanic Douglas firs and hemlocks twisting into the sky like gothic pillars, standing 250 feet above an emerald forest showcasing some of the largest and oldest trees in Oregon. In a landscape defined by logging, the Valley of the Giants is a 51-acre island of old-growth protected by the Bureau of Land Management as an Outstanding Natural Area. “It’s like a pocket of Coast Range forest that time forgot,” said Trish Hogervorst, an officer for the BLM’s Salem District. “There’s a long and bumpy ride to get there, but people really love it. It’s a real hidden jewel…”

New Orleans, Louisiana, Times Picayune, May 21, 2020: Cold damage in queen palms doesn’t show up right away; add mulch in the shade under large oak trees

Q: There is an area on the trunk of my queen palm that has me concerned. The outer layer of bark has peeled away, and it looks like the trunk is rotten in that spot. The top of the palm looks fine, and it has been sending out new fronds. But the area looks terrible, and I was wondering if there was something I should do to help the palm. — Cynthia Simms
A: The queen palm (Syagrus romanzoffiana) is a graceful, fast-growing and popular palm for New Orleans landscapes. Unfortunately, it is also the least cold-tolerant of the commonly planted palms. Queen palms can be badly damaged or killed by temperatures of 20 degrees or lower. Temperatures reached those lows back in February 2018. The fronds (leaves) of all the queen palms turned brown after the freeze. Some of them sprouted out in the spring, but many were killed. Of those queen palms that survived and recovered, some sustained cold damage to the trunks. This damage was not immediately apparent, however. As time goes by, you may see patches of the outer trunk peel away revealing decaying tissue, just as you describe on your palm. There is nothing you can or should do about this old cold damage. The palm may live for years, and you do not have to consider removal as long as the foliage of the palms stays green and healthy. Monitor the decayed area. If decay continues to eat into the trunk, it can eventually weaken the trunk to the point it may break. If the decay becomes extensive, have the tree evaluated by a licensed arborist and decide if removal is necessary…

Sacramento, California, Sacramento Magazine, May 21, 2020: New Life for Old Trees

The Sacramento Tree Foundation has come up with a novel way to manage wood waste from the urban forest. Through a program called Urban Wood Rescue, dead trees that normally would be chipped into mulch or sent to a landfill to decompose are turned into slabs of quality kiln-dried wood prized by artisans and do-it-yourselfers. “Trees inevitably die; that’s just a fact of the urban forest or any forest,” says Stephanie Robinson, communications and engagement manager for the organization. “But that really gorgeous, useable wood has a lot of environmental benefits if we retain it.” That’s because living trees capture carbon in their wood. “When we leave that wood in whole form, it locks down the carbon as long as that wood remains in whole form. If we chip it or burn it or let it decompose in the landfill, eventually all of that carbon is released back into the atmosphere,” Robinson explains. A grant from Cal Fire enabled the foundation to launch the wood rescue program. It all starts when a tree is removed and the donated log is delivered to the Urban Wood Rescue lumberyard, where it’s milled and dried in a vacuum kiln. “Once slabs are dry, we list them on our website and then sell them to the public. All of those proceeds go back to the tree foundation to further advance tree plantings and our programs,” says Robinson…

Dayton, Ohio, Dayton Daily News, May 22, 2020: Local garden centers see ‘record-breaking’ sales amid pandemic

Food, toilet paper and cleaning supplies aren’t the only items people have been craving during Ohio’s stay-at-home period. Local garden centers are reporting “record-breaking” sales during the coronavirus pandemic. The North Dayton Garden Center, at 1309 Brandt Pike, is having a “banner year,” said owner and co-founder Pete Kossoudji. “I’ve been hearing from customers who are enlarging their garden plots, some are even doubling them,” Kossoudji said. “Which makes me happy that they’re buying more, I’m grateful, but I am also fearful for my customers, for my friends and for my family. This is a scary time.” Marybeth Taggart, advertising manager for Grandma’s Gardens near Waynesville, said the garden center had a record-setting Mother’s Day sale. The average amount spent per purchase has increased this spring, too, according to Taggart. “With so many stuck at home, people are upgrading their gardens and landscapes,” Taggart said. “Growers are actually having a tough time keeping up with the demand…”

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, CBC, May 21, 2020: Saskatoon residents outraged after CP Rail cuts down 2,000 trees

Saskatoon residents say they’re shocked CP Rail recently cut down an estimated 2,000 trees in their neighbourhood. They say CP owes them an explanation, but refused to talk to them before, during or after the operation. “This looks terrible. CP is being a bad neighbour,” said Melanie Vanderlinde, vice-president of the North Park Richmond Heights Community Association. CP recently removed nearly every tree from an embankment along 33rd Street, the residents say. Beginning near the South Saskatchewan Riverbank, the seven-metre-wide cut runs west for roughly one kilometre. A member of SOS Trees Coalition — a Saskatoon group focused on urban forest preservation — conducted a rough a count of the stumps. It estimates between 2,000 and 2,500 trees, most of them apparently healthy Manitoba maples, were felled. An estimated 2,000 trees to the left of this bike path along Saskatoon’s 33rd Street have now been removed by CP Rail, angering residents and tree advocates. (Submitted by Richard Kerbes) The affected embankment runs between the CP railway tracks and a bike path. The embankment is CP property, and the City of Saskatoon has no power to stop tree removal on private property, an official confirmed. CP officials declined a CBC News interview request, but emailed a statement saying CP conducts a “comprehensive annual vegetation management program across its rail network” and that safety “is integral to CP’s long-term success and the foundation of everything we do…

Louisville, Kentucky, Courier-Journal, May 21, 2020: Oldham County man dies after tree falls on him, police say

An Oldham County man was killed Wednesday afternoon after a tree fell on him while he was working with a crew to remove it from a property, police say. Benjamin Oliver, 33, of Crestwood, was pronounced dead just after 2:30 p.m. Wednesday at a property in the 6600 block of Kentucky Highway 329, where he had been struck by a falling tree, according to an Oldham County Police news release. Police learned that the homeowner had hired Crestwood Cutters to remove a large tree from the property. Oliver, who was employed by the tree removal service, had cut a wedge into the front of the tree while preparing to remove its base, according to his coworkers. As Oliver prepared to move to the rear of the tree to finish cutting it, the tree snapped and fell, trapping Oliver beneath it, according to police…

Albany, New York, Times Union, May 20, 2020: Clifton Park residents seek end to developer’s plan to remove trees

A 69-acre forest running along the Northway near Ushers Road is once again the scene of anti-development sentiment. The owners, Boni Builders, want to harvest timber from 60 acres of a forest that runs along Wood Dale Drive. But residents say the move, which has yet to be approved by the town, is a precursor to what they believe is Boni’s true motivation – a housing development — something the developer has attempted there in recent years. “It’s a terrible idea,” said Jim Ruhl, who is leading the neighborhood opposition to the timber harvest. “There is a history of trying to develop it and refusals by the planning board… We are trying to nip it in the bud. The whole strategy is to start early.” Ruhl wrote in a memo to the town that the removal of 1,250 trees, which is the estimate from harvester Stillwater Forestry Services, would impact the character of the neighborhood. “The trees have provided residents a valuable Northway noise buffer,” the Ruhl memo stated. “Harvesting… will negatively affect its effectiveness and consequently the quiet, residential character of the Wood Dale neighborhood…”

Romeoville, Illinois, Patch, May 20, 2020: Village Introduces Parkway Tree Replacement Program For Residents

In an effort to maintain the character of its family-friendly neighborhoods with a network of tree-lined streets, the Village of Romeoville announced the Parkway Tree Replacement Program on Tuesday, May 19. This program is intended to assist residents who wish to have trees planted in the parkway in front of their homes where the trees do not currently exist or where the trees are in poor condition. It does not apply to commercial or common areas in the subdivision. The village will offer a cost-share program to residents who wish to have trees planted, and contribute $75 towards the purchase of each tree. Residents may choose from a variety of approved trees. Trees must be purchased from village’s designated landscaper. Trees can be placed within the parkway. If a tree cannot be planted in the parkway due to the village requirements, the village will review a location within the front yard…

Bathurst, NSW, Australia, Western Advocate, May 21, 2020: Poplar trees to go, making way for new plantings in Jacques Park

He tried his best, but there was nothing more councillor John Fry could do to save poplar trees slated for removal in Jacques Park. A report on the trees was presented to Bathurst Regional Council’s meeting on Wednesday, with a recommendation from the director of Engineering Services to remove the trees from the Hawthornden Creek riparian zone in Jacques Park. Cr Fry immediately put forward an alternate motion, which was for the poplar trees to remain in place within the park until they become a public safety risk. He said that, based on his own observations and discussions with other environmental groups, the majority of the poplars weren’t a biosecurity risk and presented only minimal risk to stream health. A second part to his motion was that any future removal is done in consultation with the community. Cr Fry said that rehabilitation of Jacques Park has been occurring for more than two decades with the help of community members, who have been planting trees and driving works in the park. “I think the community needs to be recognised as having a significant stake in this and doing an incredible amount of work, and a lot of non-government groups… they’ve been driving this and I think they should be considered when we make big management decisions on this park,” he said…

New York City, The New York Times, May 21, 2020: What About the Plants?

Like many of his friends, Jake Foster considered leaving his Brooklyn apartment and retreating to his parents’ home in Dallas to escape the endless drumbeat of coronavirus. But first he had to devise a plan for his 60 house plants. He thought about rigging up a drip watering system, but it was beyond his engineering skills. “I sketched out a few ideas in my mind, but nothing that wouldn’t end up flooding my apartment and killing all my plants,” said Mr. Foster, 33, a software engineer. “So I ended up staying here.” As the weeks have passed, Mr. Foster has unexpectedly become a good Samaritan to plants left behind by fleeing New Yorkers. Riding his bike around the city, he’s picked up more than a dozen plants discarded on street curbs or left outside apartment buildings. “The intent wasn’t that I was leaving to find plants, but the more I started doing it, the more plants became available to me,” he said. “There’s an unwritten law that once you start looking for something, you find it everywhere.” While some departing residents have left plants on streets, flora of all shapes and sizes have also been abandoned in now-empty apartments, office buildings and commercial spaces. Friends and neighbors who have remained in the city have been called upon to care for deserted plants, and watering services have stepped in to care for greenery left in workplaces…

Inside Climate News, May 20, 2020: Tree Deaths in Urban Settings Are Linked to Leaks from Natural Gas Pipelines Below Streets

Natural gas leaks from underground pipelines are killing trees in densely populated urban environments, a new study suggests, adding to concerns over such leaks fueling climate change and explosion hazards. The study, which took place in Chelsea, Massachusetts, a low-income immigrant community near Boston, also highlights the many interrelated environmental challenges in a city that faces high levels of air pollution, soaring summer temperatures and is now beset by one of the highest coronavirus infection rates in the nation. Dead or dying trees were 30 times more likely to have been exposed to methane in the soil surrounding their roots than healthy trees, according to the study published last month in the journal Environmental Pollution. “I was pretty blown away by that result,” said Madeleine Scammell, an environmental health professor at Boston University’s School of Public Health who co-authored the study. “If these trees were humans, we would be talking about what to do to stop this immediately…”

MLive.com, May 19, 2020: Michigan’s standing dead trees could nearly wrap around the Earth

If all the standing dead trees in Michigan were laid side-by-side in a 4-foot tall pile, they would nearly wrap around the Earth – and they could be a valuable resource to enhance the state’s economy. The volume of standing dead trees in the state amounts to about 2.2 billion cubic feet, which is the equivalent of 28.7 million cords, according to Michigan State University Extension. 28.7 million cords would be roughly 22,000 miles long if lined up, side-by-side – and that is nearly the circumference of the Earth at the equator. A cord is a measure of wood that occupies 128 cubic feet when “racked and well-stowed” in a 4-foot tall pile. The state’s volume of standing dead trees has built up over time. MSUE estimates the annual tree mortality rate to be about six million cords. By comparison, Michigan’s annual harvest is about five million cords…

New Haven, Connecticut, Yale Environment 360, May 19, 2020: In California, A Push Grows to Turn Dead Trees into Biomass Energy

Jonathan Kusel owns three pickups and a 45-foot truck for hauling woodchip bins. He operates a woodchip yard and a 35-kilowatt biomass plant that burns dead trees, and he runs a crew marking trees for loggers working in national forests. Those are a lot of blue-collar credentials for a University of California, Berkeley PhD sociologist known for his documentation of how the decline of the timber industry affects rural communities. What drove Kusel into a side business — logging small and dead trees and burning them in biomass boilers — is fear of fire. In 2007, the 65,000-acre Moonlight Fire blew flaming embers onto his lawn near Taylorsville, California as he readied his family to evacuate. Last September, the Walker Fire scorched 54,614 acres just up the valley from the offices of the Sierra Institute for Community and Environment, the nonprofit research organization Kusel founded in 1993. In that 12-year span, wildfires burned 690 square miles in the northern Sierra Nevada. Drought, a warming climate, and bark-beetle infestations have also killed 147 million California trees since 2013, most of them along the Sierra spine running south from Kusel’s home base past Lake Tahoe and Yosemite National Park to Tehachapi Pass, 75 miles north of Los Angeles. Scientists say these trees are poised to burn in California’s next round of megafires, threatening the range with blazes so intense they will leave some places unable to establish new forests…

New Milford, Connecticut, Spectrum, May 19, 2020: ‘Tree placement and design depends on your preferences’

Apple trees grown from pips, seeds, can grow to heights of 25 to 35 feet. Trees this large, called standards, need room for their roots and branches. If they are planted too close the roots collide and naturally inhibit growth. Overlapping branches prevent sunlight from ripening the fruit. In both cases, the trees are vying for the resources needed to produce a healthy crops. One-hundred nine apple trees spaced 20 feet apart would fill an acre and would be capable of producing 20- to 30,000 apples. That is a lot of apple sauce, or cider, or table fruit. Take your pick.The various apple, pear, apricot, nectarine and peach trees here are cast about various areas here. The decision as to where to plant them has evolved over 15 years and I made some serious mistakes. The first attempt at growing fruit was driven by a lack of properly ripened Asian pears at the local markets. The fruit grown in South America, and maybe California, and is shipped in bushel boxes sleeved in styrofoam. In my opinion, they are as tasty as the sleeves they are shipped in. So, I decided to grow my own from mail order whips from Miller Brothers in western New York. Five out of six whips failed. So did Miller Brothers. Failure led to the question, “Why?” The answer is, placement is at the top of the list. As it turns out, the chosen area was the worst location I could have chosen. The trees were planted below a stonewall at a low point in the yard where cold air falls off a slope and sits…

New York City, New York Post, May 17, 2020: Parks Dept. says porn star Ron Jeremy’s childhood tree is getting axed

Ron Jeremy’s wood can’t stay erect, the city Parks Department told The Post on Sunday. The porn actor, who’s nearly 70, had been fighting to save a tree outside his former childhood home in Bayside, Queens — tweeting out a plea for help Saturday. “This tree was planted by my dad the day I was born,” Jeremy wrote, adding, HELP RON JEREMY SAVE HIS WOOD,” and, “Please make this trend.” But a Parks source told The Post that the tree will be getting the ax — because it is in bad condition and poses a danger to passers-by. The Norway maple, which is about 2 feet in diameter, was examined by the department’s foresters May 1, and they “found the tree to be in poor condition,” the source said. “Less than half of the tree’s canopy remains, and the few branches left are likely to fall,” the source said. There is no set timeline yet for the tree’s removal only “because some of the branches are close to power lines, [and] Con-Edison will provide clearance prior to tree removal…”

Denver, Colorado, KMGH-TV, May 18, 2020: Denver homeowner says newly planted trees were stolen out of her yard

Norma Clark is trying to sell her home and she was hoping some added curb appeal would entice buyers, but she never expected her newly planted trees would attract criminals. “You’re like, Something is wrong here.’ I saw holes, holes in the ground and it just broke my heart,” said Clark. Clark said she was getting ready to mow her lawn the next day when she realized the trees were missing. Her brother had just helped plant them the day before. “I cried, it was just… it was just disheartening. I’m sorry, you know, because you work so hard on something and you try so hard and some people just don’t get it,” said Clark. The eight small pine trees were located along her fence in front of the home and on the side, now only the holes are left. She wonders if someone who was driving by or walking in the area saw her planting the trees and decided to come back that night. Clark is trying not to feel deflated but the past couple of years have been tough. She is trying to sell her home to help pay for her daughter’s medical bills after battling leukemia. “So with trying to get through that and medical expenses, that’s why we put the house on the market, so we could take a deep breath and relax a little bit,” said Clark. Neighbors are outraged by the crime and they’ve been writing messages of support on Next-door…

Las Cruces, New Mexico, Sun, May 17, 2020: Matchmaker: Picking the right tree or shrub for your area

Question: After I bought a “Sea Green” juniper I noticed the tag said “Hardy to 20°F.” Well, I live at almost 7,000 feet in Torrance County. When I looked online it said my zone is 6. I think maybe the tag is wrong. Do you agree?
Answer: I’m not familiar with the “Sea Green” juniper, so I did a quick search and confirmed that the recommended planting zones for that shrub are USDA Hardiness Zones 4–9. I also double checked the USDA Hardiness Zones for your county, which tend to be in Zones 6–7. You can find the USDA Hardiness Zone for your location at https://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/. As described on that website, the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map is “the standard by which gardeners and growers can determine which plants are most likely to thrive at a location.” The map is based on the average annual minimum winter temperature, divided into 10-degree Fahrenheit zones. For example, USDA Hardiness Zone 6 has average annual extreme minimum temperatures from minus-10 degrees to 0 degrees, and Zone 7 is slightly warmer with average annual extreme minimums from 0 degrees to 10 degrees. Since the plant you bought is recorded as being cold hardy to a safe minimum of Zone 4, with average extreme cold temps down to minus-30 degrees, there’s a really good chance it will survive winters in your general area. The average extreme low temperatures vary based on which years the data averages came from. For the 2012 USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map, the zone assignments are based on data from 1976 through 2005. Because average temperatures are going up with climate change, we can expect the assigned zones for different regions to change too, but not as uniformly as you might think. It’s not that simple. Even as average temperatures rise, we’re still expected to get cold snaps and polar vortices…

New York City, The New York Times, May 18, 2020: 7.7 Million Young People Are Unemployed. We Need a New ‘Tree Army.’

Nearly 7.7 million American workers younger than 30 are now unemployed and three million dropped out of the labor force in the past month. Combined that’s nearly one in three young workers, by far the highest rate since the country started tracking unemployment by age in 1948. Nearly 40 percent worked in the devastated retail and food service sectors. And as the most recently hired, young workers are typically the first let go and often the last rehired, especially those of color. As our country’s leaders consider a range of solutions to address this crisis, there’s one fix that will put millions of young Americans directly to work: a 21st-century version of the Civilian Conservation Corps. In 1933, when President Franklin Roosevelt created the C.C.C., he was facing, as we are today, the possibility of a lost generation of young people. The conservation-minded president’s idea was to hire young unemployed men for projects in forestry, soil conservation and recreation…

London, UK, Guardian, May 16, 2020: How urban planners’ preference for male trees has made your hay fever worse

Eight years ago Tom Ogren, a horticulturist, was in Sacramento, California, when he noticed that the ground around the State Capitol building was covered in thick yellow pollen. Scanning the trees along the street with his binoculars, he saw the trees were all deodar cedars (Cedrus deodara) and all cultivated males. Naturally, the deodar is monoecious, having both male and female cones growing on the same tree. But cultivation has produced wholly male trees – plants favoured by planners since they have no seeds or pods to drop but only pollen. This was the case at this Sacramento site, Ogren said. Growers’ breeding of purely male diodar trees had created, said Ogren, “something that doesn’t even exist in nature.” Ogren said he had seen similar pollen-coated cityscapes in Christchurch, New Zealand, London, UK, and all over Canada…

US News and World Report, May 17, 2020: Tennessee Trees Have Toppled. Will Residents Replant?

Another beloved landmark tree fell this month when powerful storms snapped a 200-year-old Shumard oak at a Nashville middle school. It’s one of thousands of trees claimed by winds and tornadoes across Middle Tennessee this spring. Now,
several groups are mobilizing to “re-leaf” the region. But they’re finding that it’s not just the disruption of the pandemic that’s complicating efforts, but also the hesitations of a community that fears the destructive threat of falling trees. Just ask Brad Price, whose home on Holly Street in East Nashville took a direct hit. The tornado took off its roof. A downed electric transformer left a crater in his front yard. And in every direction, trees wreaked havoc on their way down — dragging down power poles, crushing cars and homes and rupturing front yards with their uprooted trunks. “Well, there’s just no more trees, which is really hurtful,” Price said during the cleanup three days later. Yet at the same time, he found an unsettling silver lining. The loss of all those trees, from his hilly vantage point, revealed a view of the downtown Nashville skyline from his front porch. And from that first week of recovery, Price says the skyline sticks with him, silhouetted against glowing orange and pink sunsets…

New York City, The New York Times, May 18, 2020: America’s Killer Lawns

One day last fall, deep in the middle of a devastating drought, I was walking the dog when a van bearing the logo of a mosquito-control company blew past me and parked in front of a neighbor’s house. The whole vehicle stank of chemicals, even going 40 miles an hour. The man who emerged from the truck donned a massive backpack carrying a tank full of insecticide and proceeded to spray every bush and plant in the yard. Then he got in his truck, drove two doors down, and sprayed that yard, too, before continuing his route all around the block. Here’s the most heartbreaking thing about the whole episode: He was spraying for mosquitoes that didn’t even exist: Last year’s extreme drought ended mosquito-breeding season long before the first freeze. Nevertheless, the mosquito vans arrived every three weeks, right on schedule, drenching the yards with poison for no reason but the schedule itself. And spraying for mosquitoes isn’t the half of it, as any walk through the lawn-care department of a big-box store will attest. People want the outdoors to work like an extension of their homes — fashionable, tidy, predictable. Above all, comfortable. So weedy yards filled with tiny wildflowers get bulldozed end to end and replaced with sod cared for by homeowners spraying from a bottle marked “backyard bug control” or by lawn services that leave behind tiny signs warning, “Lawn care application; keep off the grass…”

Detroit, Michigan, News, May 17, 2020: Michigan apple, peach trees damaged in worst spring freeze since 2002

Fruit growers are assessing the damage on their orchards after temperatures plunged below freezing in south-central and southwest Michigan, threatening tender blooms on apple, peach and other fruit trees. Last weekend’s morning freeze was the worst of its type since one that hit the area in May 2002, according to the Lansing State Journal. Cold, dry air blowing in from Canada dropped temperatures into the low- to mid-20s for nearly nine hours, according to the Lansing State Journal. “We won’t realize the extent of the damage until maybe next week,” said Audrey Sebolt, a horticultural specialist with the Michigan Farm Bureau. “Statewide, we won’t fully know until June, when the fruit is set.” Mark Longstroth, a fruit educator at Michigan State University, said fruits that bloom early were probably hurt the most. “Some apple varieties were pretty severely affected, some others not so bad,” he said. “The grapes came through it surprisingly well, and we’ve been real surprised how little damage blueberries suffered from the freeze…”

San Francisco, California, Chronicle, May 14, 2020: PG&E seeks relief from judge’s order on power-line inspections, tree trimming

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. is trying to unwind a federal judge’s order that directs the company to revamp the way it inspects its heavy-duty power lines and trims trees that could damage electrical equipment and cause more catastrophic wildfires. In a court filing late Wednesday, PG&E attorneys asked U.S. District Judge William Alsup to reconsider his April order imposing a series of additional conditions as part of the company’s five-year-probation sentence arising from the deadly 2010 San Bruno pipeline explosion. The company said Alsup failed to give PG&E an opportunity to raise objections at a hearing, based his order on “a series of factual errors” and interfered with the role of state regulators. The conditions are also “substantively unreasonable because they are not reasonably necessary to accomplish the purposes of sentencing,” a filing from the company said…

Jacksonville, Florida, WTLV-TV, May 14, 2020: Trees cut without permit at St. Augustine theater before turning parking lot into drive-in

Trees were cut down without legal permission at a St. Augustine movie theater. It apparently happened just days before the Epic Theater turned its parking lot into a drive-in theater Monday. “I was disappointed that the trees were cut down,” St. Johns County Commissioner Henry Dean said. In the theater’s parking lot, the tops of at least four live oak trees and a crepe myrtle were hacked off. Now, only their trunks stick up out of the ground. Saturday, a concerned resident reported the incident to the county offices. Two days later, the company started showing movies on the white part of its exterior wall, turning the same parking lot into a drive-in theater. “I would guess the Epic Theater owners felt it was probably necessary to remove the trees, I’m guessing really, in order to provide adequate viewing space for the cars they anticipate at the drive-in movie,” Dean said. He said the theater chopped down the trees without a permit. First Coast News reached out to Epic Theatre in several ways for comment. We have not heard back. Danny Lippi, an arborist, told First Coast News when you take off the top of the tree, it removes the leaves… and those leaves help make food for the tree. Also, that inner part of the trunk that is exposed now can decay. So even if these trees get big, Lippi said, they could be “hazardous” and weakened…

Long Beach, California, Press-Telegram, May 14, 2020: Coastal Commission charges Long Beach with pattern of illegal tree trimming

A California Coastal Commission investigation has concluded Long Beach violated a state law last week by having a contractor trim palm trees on the peninsula when there were multiple active great blue heron nests there. The city has violated tree-trimming regulations multiple times over the past three years, a letter from enforcement officer Jordan Sanchez to Long Beach said. That has prompted a series of proposed penalties, including requiring the city to plant more trees, create a new tree-trimming plan with more oversight, and pay fines, — with the money going to local environmental groups. The fines for violating the California Coastal Act can run from $500 to $30,000. On Wednesday, May 6, a private tree-trimming crew worked on 86 Mexican fan palm trees in the Ocean Boulevard median. Several of the trees had active nests, including at least one fledgling heron died. “We’re still uncovering details, but it was clearly a mistake,” Public Works Director Craig Beck said last week. The company “was trimming the tall palms around 65th Place, and a neighbor called and said there was a bird on the ground.” The city responded, Beck added, and told the tree trimmers to leave. The city investigation continues, Beck said this week, adding that a complete report will likely not be ready by Friday — which the Coastal Commission demanded in its letter…

Paducah, Kentucky, Sun, May 15, 2020: Tree trimming and pruning

Do not trust a stranger with a chainsaw in his hand. Recently, a friend’s neighbor asked if her tree trimmer could cut a few branches off my friend’s tree. The specific branches were agreed upon, but later my friend discovered more than twice the number were removed. The trimmer’s response was that the neighbor was paying him; the friend told him it was her tree and to stop. The once beautifully shaped tree is no longer an asset to the landscape and will need to be shaped at her expense. She has lost the value of the tree to the house. Well-designed landscaping is valued at 6-10% of the value of a home depending on location and a number of other factors including age, type of tree, etc. In addition, the branches were not cut according to accepted tree-trimming practices. Do not saw against the tree but to the outside of the “collar” which joins the branch and trunk. The collar contains special cells that form a protective scab over the cut. Without that collar, the tree will not form protection from insects and disease. Branches should not be cut parallel to the ground, but at an angle that allows water to run off rather than sitting on the cut. If the branch is torn in cutting or by a storm, cut back into solid wood. A dead branch should be cut into live wood, not just to live, as the branch will continue to die back. All trees have better times of the year to have their limbs removed than others. Generally, it is best to have the damage corrected as soon as possible…

Syracuse, New York, Syracuse.com, May 13, 2020: How Beak and Skiff tricked Mother Nature to protect apple trees from frost

It was a dangerous night for apple trees. The wind was barely stirring at Beak and Skiff Apple Orchards. The temperature had fallen below 30 degrees. And as the frost set in, the LaFayette orchard’s tender blossoms — which will eventually turn into apples — were at risk of dying before they even got a chance to bloom. So the farm’s crew headed into the cold, dark orchard just after midnight to set up smudge pots and turn on wind machines to raise the temperatures just enough to protect the buds from the potentially deadly freeze. “We can trick mother nature by about 2 degrees, and that’s all it takes,” said Peter Fleckenstein, a partner at Beak and Skiff and general manager of the orchard’s fresh fruit and juice operation The National Weather Service issued a freeze warning for Central New York, warning that temperatures could drop as low as 27 degrees across the region. That’s a dangerous number for near-blossoming apple trees, Fleckenstein said: Temperatures below 27 degrees can kill buds, endangering CNY’s favorite fruit. “One night can ruin the whole season,” he said…

Cleveland, Ohio, Plain Dealer, May 13, 2020: Brooklyn and Parma Heights mayors engage in Census 2020 tree challenge

The gauntlet has been thrown down between Brooklyn Mayor Katie Gallagher and Parma Heights Mayor Michael P. Byrne regarding Census 2020. Both city leaders mean business, which is why the former challenged the latter to see which community can hit a 75 percent response rate. The winner receives what’s being called the “Census Tree.” At last check, Parma Heights was winning, with a 71.7 percent response rate vs. Brooklyn’s 70.6 response rate. “Parma Heights is a partner and a neighboring community. We share a lot of services together,” Gallagher said. “Being the same population size, same type of demographic, it’s just a friendly challenge to try to incentivize our residents and teach them the importance of filling out the census and how it helps the community as far as resources down the line,” she said… Regarding the location of the “Census Tree” if their respective communities win, Gallagher said it’ll be planted somewhere for the public to enjoy, while Byrne said it’ll be in a prominent spot…

Verona, New Jersey, myveronanj.com, May 13, 2020: Cutting A Tree? Get A Permit

If your outdoor projects during the pandemic include cutting down a tree, you’ll need to get a permit first–or face a fine and other costs. Township officials have issued five violations in recent days for cutting down trees without a permit, and the new rules enacted by the Town Council last year mean a minimum fine of $200 per violation. Homeowners also face the prospect of having to plant new trees to replace those taken down. Last October, in a 3-2 vote, the Council approved the first significant revisions to Verona’s municipal code on trees in more than 50 years. To preserve the environmental benefits that come with trees, the ordinance made it unlawful to remove or trim more than 30% of any healthy mature tree without a permit. Any homeowner who needs to remove more than two healthy mature trees within a calendar year must get the approval of the Planning Board. The permit fee for two trees was set at $50, but the measure specified that no permit was needed if a tree had been found to be dead, diseased or a hazard. The tree ordinance requires homeowners to plant native trees as replacements or pay $400 into a replacement fund controlled by the town. Councilman Ted Giblin and Councilwoman Christine McGrath, who is the Town Council’s liaison to the Verona Environmental Commission, voted against the ordinance…

Newburyport, Massachusetts, News, May 13, 2020: Two candidates vie for Newbury tree warden

Incumbent Tree Warden Tim Lamprey will receive a challenge in the town election from Bernie Field, a lifelong Byfield resident. The election is June 16 with early and absentee voting happening now. Polling hours have yet to be set. Voters will fill 14 municipal seats on the annual ballot. The deadline to register to vote is June 5. The annual Town Meeting is June 9 at 7 p.m. at Newbury Elementary School. The deadline to register to vote is May 20. The town clerk’s office is encouraging mail-in voting and has sent ballots to registered voters. Anyone who is registered to vote but did not receive a ballot can access one at the election/town meeting link at http://www.townofnewbury.org. The candidates for tree warden were asked to comment on why they are the best person to fill this position…

Science, May 12, 2020: Deadly imports: In one U.S. forest, 25% of tree loss caused by foreign pests and disease

From a deadly fungus that showed its face in 1904 on an American chestnut in the Bronx to a nematode recently found to kill American beeches in Ohio, forests in the United States have faced more than 100 years’ worth of attacks from introduced pests and pathogens. But how much of a chunk are these invaders actually taking out of the woods? A new study suggests the impact is severe, accounting for one-quarter of all tree deaths in eastern U.S. forests over the past 3 decades. That death toll is likely far higher than the mortality caused by introduced species from the 1940s to the 1980s, and also “currently much bigger than any known effect of climate change,” says Kristina Anderson-Teixeira, an ecologist at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute who led the research. Scientists have documented at least 450 foreign insects and pathogens that have found their way to North America and feed on trees. Most do little damage, but more than a dozen have proved extraordinarily destructive, wiping out tree species—or even whole genera—as functioning members of forest ecosystems…

Minneapolis, Minnesota, Star Tribune, May 12, 2020: Roseville lowers tree replacement fees for single-family development

An ordinance to protect mature trees from developers’ bulldozers may have gone too far, leaders in one Ramsey County suburb decided this week. After months of discussion, the Roseville City Council has throttled back a rule that required property owners to either replant new trees to replace all mature trees cut down during development or pay fees that climb as high as 10% of the property value. The tree ordinance stirred controversy last summer when two heavily wooded residential lots under development were initially each charged more than $10,000 for tree replacement. “It was an unusual situation where they had to take down so many big trees and the lots weren’t big enough to put them back,” said Janice Gundlach, Roseville community development director. The City Council agreed Monday to cap the fees in the tree preservation and restoration ordinance at 5% of the property value for single-family lots. Larger development projects must still pay up to 10% of property value for downed trees, or replace them…

Hannibal, Missouri, The Whig, May 13, 2020: Hannibal targets invasive pear tree one at a time

Members of the Hannibal Tree Board know their work never ends since there are always trees to plant, prune, mulch or water. But moving up on the board’s priority list is setting aside time to educate the public about the invasive Bradford pear tree. “That might be an idea for a future project we could tackle,” said Tree Board President Kristy Trevathan during the board’s May 6 meeting at city hall. Trevathan proposed scheduling a public workshop during which a Bradford pear that is currently growing on public property could be brought down. Trevathan said it wasn’t all that long ago that the local tree board was recommending the Bradford pear as a tree to plant in urban spaces because of its tolerance of poor soil and pollution. “Everybody thought they were a wonderful tree,” Trevathan said, adding that she had recently come across some old Missouri Department of Conservation literature that also promoted the tree, which is native to China. “Now it is said they are an invasive tree and to remove them.” The MDC considers the Bradford pear invasive in part because it multiplies quickly and crowds out Missouri native plants. “The bush honeysuckle and the Bradford pear really do multiply,” Trevathan said. The Bradford pear in the spring features very dense clusters of white flowers that cover the tree before its leaves form. The tree, which reaches heights of 30 to 40 feet when it matures, has some negative traits such as a short lifespan (about 20 years) and a weak branch structure that ultimately leads to it breaking apart…

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Metro Philly, May 12, 2020: TreePhilly program offers city residents free trees

More trees, please. That has been the attitude of Philadelphia’s annual TreePhilly program for years and even amongst a global pandemic, the city’s flourishing green initiative is continuing its mission. Philadelphia Parks and Recreation announced it will once again offer Philadelphia residents a chance to receive a free tree at two no-contact pickup events. There will also be a door-to-door delivery service available for high-risk residents as well. Registration is open through Sunday, May 17. The pickup events will be held on Saturday and Sunday, May 23 and 24, at various locations throughout Philly. Trees will be delivered from May 25-29 and are available while supplies last. “Now more than ever, Philadelphians need trees in their communities,” said Parks and Recreation Commissioner Kathryn Ott Lovell in a statement. “We are thrilled to be able to offer Philadelphia residents a safe opportunity to make a difference this spring, literally right in their own backyard…”

Reuters, May 11, 2020: False claim: Photo shows trees cut down to enable 5G technology

Social media users have shared a photograph of a residential street lined with stumps, falsely claiming trees were cut down to make way for 5G technology. On February 4, 2019, the photo was shared on Facebook with the caption: “5G can’t pass through tree leaves so they chopped them all down.” A screenshot of this post has since been shared by a different social media user on April 2, 2020. A publication for 5G planning by the British government states that some objects, including trees and hedges, can interfere with 5G signals. However, the trees in the photograph were not cut down because of 5G, but because they were old and potentially dangerous. On February 6, 2019, the photo was published in an article by Flemish newspaper Het Nieuwsblad (here). Hannelore Smitz, the journalist who wrote the article, told Reuters that he obtained the photograph from a resident who was worried about why the trees had been felled. The article explains that trees along the Baron Descampslaan road in the Belgium city of Leuven were cut down so they could be replaced. According to the report, Belgian politician Carl Devlies said the trees were being replaced because “some were sick, others were crooked, and some were showing signs of aging…”

Relief Web, May 11, 2020: Harnessing tech to employ last-mile tree planters in a COVID-19 world

The year 2020 started with such optimism and hope for nature-based solutions and environmental sustainability. Environmental, social and governance investments were high on the agenda at Davos; the World Economic Forum launched the 1 Trillion Trees campaign, backed by Salesforce; BlackRock’s CEO sent an open letter to industry leaders about the future of the planet and the tough but necessary choices ahead for investment; and calls for action from young people were gathering momentum. The message was clear: if we don’t do something fast, our future does not look good. Then, a few short weeks into the new decade, COVID-19 literally shut giant swaths of the world down. Planes stopped flying, factories closed, businesses had to adapt, and people stayed indoors. Many world leaders showed us that in times of crisis they can act fast. Now what? Post COVID-19 recovery plans are a priority: the current loss of income and slowed economic growth are being compared by some to the Great Depression of the 1930s—and this time the situation may be affecting millions more people. The climate, biodiversity and COVID-19-induced poverty crises require creative and innovative solutions…

Greenville, South Carolina, News, May 11, 2020: Despite tornado, trees still ‘rock’ for Botany Woods resident

[Editor’s note: Although the content of this story is blocked, being for subscribers only, and being as how we at treeandneighborlawblog.com really don’t have much use for a subscription to the Greenville News, fine paper though it is, we can only show you the photo, a delicious piece of irony that pretty much speaks for itself].

UPI, May 11, 2020: Giant Asian gypsy moth threatens trees in Washington

After a warning about the bee-killing Asian giant hornet, Washington state is bracing for invasion of another supersize invasive insect. This one, the Hokkaido gypsy moth, can destroy trees. Gov. Jay Inslee issued an emergency proclamation last week, warning that the moths have been discovered in parts of Snohomish County, which is northeast of Seattle. “This imminent danger of infestation seriously endangers the agricultural and horticultural industries of the state of Washington and seriously threatens the economic well-being and quality of life of state residents,” Inslee said in a statement. Hokkaido gypsy moths never have been observed before in the United States. They are exotic pests that can do “widespread damage” when hundreds of voracious caterpillars hatch, Karla Salp, a spokeswoman for the Washington Department of Agriculture, told UPI…

Midland, Texas, Reporter-Telegram, May 10, 2020: ‘Specimen Tree’ to be focal point of downtown park

Centennial Park officials planted what they expect will be the “focal point” of the $18 million downtown project. Last week, a crane helped plant a live oak tree – or the “specimen tree” on top of the mesa in the park, located next to the Bush Convention Center. “Once the park opens, Centennial Park hopes the tree will serve as a gathering place for all Midlanders!” according to the city’s public information Facebook page. The specimen tree has a 17-inch diameter and was trucked in from Austin. In February, park officials said they expect a June 17 completion date. Centennial Park is located in the heart of downtown Midland, in the space previously occupied by Centennial Plaza and the Midland County Courthouse. The 4-acre park, according to the city, is centered around the lawn and performance pavilion, with tree-lined promenades running along its perimeter. An interactive water feature functions as a splash pad by day and a fountain by night. Additional features include a dog park, concessions kiosk, grove seating, and a nature-style playground…

Cadillac, Michigan, News, May 11, 2020: Learning about signature tree species

Forest types are largely defined by the dominant tree species within the canopy of a stand. However, understory regeneration often varies, sometimes suggesting long-term forest type changes. Over decades, forests undergo somewhat predictable changes. Foresters call this “forest succession.‘ One of the best indicators of where a forest stand might be headed is from examining the regeneration. Without major disturbance, there’s a pretty good chance the seedlings of today will become the dominant forest type of the future. Different forest types have various track records in their ability to reproduce themselves over time. Northern hardwoods can sustain themselves for centuries. Signature species, such as sugar maple, beech, and basswood, are capable of growing in the shade and will take advantage of small canopy gaps as old trees gradually die. On the other end of the spectrum, paper birch and red pine stands have very low percentages of their own seedlings in the understory. These are sun-loving tree species. Without disturbance, other forest types will replace these forest types. Paper birch stands are likely to become balsam fir or northern hardwoods. Red pine stands will trend more towards red maple, black cherry, and different species of oak. Similarly, aspen stands tend to be replaced by red maple or balsam fir. Aspen is particularly popular with most game species and a growing number of birds with declining populations…

Cosmo Magazine, May 11, 2020: Tree diversity not just in rainforests

Rainforests get the headlines, but other forests also are home to thousands of unique and important tree species, new research reveals. An international team studied DNA data from more than 10,000 forest and savanna sites across the Americas and discovered that nearly 30% of tree evolutionary diversity is only to be found in temperate and tropical dry forests. The comparable figure for tropical rainforests is 26%. “Our findings show that temperate forests and dry forests have unique evolutionary history that merits far greater conservation attention,” says Toby Pennington, from the University of Exeter, UK. “Protecting rain forests is obviously vital for many reasons, but we shouldn’t ignore the unique tree biodiversity of temperate and dry forests.” The study found that temperate forests hold unique genetic lines of trees including members of the oak and elm families. Unique lineages in dry forests – such as the Caatinga of Brazil and the Chiquitania of Bolivia – include members of the pea and cacti families. By examining the evolutionary structure of tree communities, the researchers – from the UK, the US, Chile and Brazil – tried to discover the main factors that prevent species expanding into new areas and environments…

Dallas, Texas, Morning News, May 7, 2020: Why are trees in North Texas so much shorter than those in other areas? Curious Texas investigates

Here in North Texas, enormous trees are far from common — especially compared with other parts of the country. Many of the tallest trees are on the West Coast, benefiting from the weather and soil there. In fact, the world’s tallest, at 380 feet, is in California. Here in the Dallas area, you’re not going to find anything remotely close to that. After a friend in Vancouver, Canada, asked about the height of North Texas trees, reader Ken Lee turned to Curious Texas with his own observation and question: “Why are the trees in North Texas so short? Trees in a lot of other areas of Texas can get very tall, but there are so few here.” There are several answers to Lee’s question. Steve Houser, a consulting arborist with Arborlogical boils the factors down to genetics, environmental conditions and history. The trees that are native to North Texas are naturally shorter. For example, the Texas red oak, which is native to North Texas, grows to about 40 feet while the Shumard red oak, native to East Texas, grows to more than 100 feet. Most trees cannot grow taller than 150 to 160 feet because the tree must be able to defy gravity to transport water from the roots to the top. “It is a simple matter of physics that the vascular system of a tree cannot carry or transport water much higher than 160 feet,” Houser said. “The redwoods and giant sequoias have the ability to capture and utilize water from the air and rainfall or fog, which allows them to grow much taller than other tree species…”

International Business Times, May 7, 2020: Washington State Faces ‘Imminent Danger’ Of Asian Gypsy Moth Infestation

After recent news about sightings of so-called murder hornets in Washington state, authorities are now warning of a possible infestation of another non-native pest species. Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee issued an emergency proclamation Tuesday, stating an “imminent danger of an infestation” of non-native pests, the Asian gypsy moths and the Asian-European hybrid gypsy moths in Snohomish County. “(T)his imminent danger of infestation seriously endangers the agricultural and horticultural industries of the state of Washington and seriously threatens the economic well-being and quality of life of state residents,” the proclamation stated. Although they are quite similar to the European gypsy moths that can be found in northeastern United States, according to the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA), Asian gypsy moths pose greater threats since infestations spread faster and more widely. Further, female European gypsy moths cannot fly whereas Asian gypsy moth females, which can lay hundreds of eggs, can fly for up to 20 miles. Asian gypsy moths are “aggressive” defoliators that can feed on over 500 species of host trees. In the U.S., Washington state has had more Asian gypsy moth introductions than any other state. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Asian gypsy moth poses a serious threat to the country’s landscape and natural resources if they become established in the country…

Science, May 7, 2020: Tree planting is not a simple solution

A plethora of articles suggest that tree planting can overcome a host of environmental problems, including climate change, water shortages, and the sixth mass extinction. Business leaders and politicians have jumped on the tree-planting bandwagon, and numerous nonprofit organizations and governments worldwide have started initiatives to plant billions or even trillions of trees for a host of social, ecological, and aesthetic reasons. Well-planned tree-planting projects are an important component of global efforts to improve ecological and human well-being. But tree planting becomes problematic when it is promoted as a simple, silver bullet solution and overshadows other actions that have greater potential for addressing the drivers of specific environmental problems, such as taking bold and rapid steps to reduce deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions. These ambitious tree-planting efforts (examples in supplementary table S1) are mostly well intentioned and have numerous potential benefits, such as conserving biodiversity, improving water quality, providing shade in urban areas, and sequestering carbon Nonetheless, the widespread obsession over planting trees can lead to negative consequences, which depend strongly on both how and where trees are planted (see the table)…

Detroit, Michigan, News, May 7, 2020: Bradford pear trees are becoming invasive

It’s the first week in May and in most towns and subdivisions in our part of the state, everywhere you look you see a profusion of white flowers blooming on lollipop-shaped Bradford pear trees. When landscapers and homeowners first started planting them several decades ago, they were kind of exotic and caught your eye. Unfortunately, it’s all you see nowadays. Unimaginative landscape architects and designers incorporate them into their landscape designs without even giving it a second thought. I guess you can’t blame them for doing that since no one complains about it. Instead, people actually prefer the familiar plants. Lazy landscape design will soon be the least of our worries as these alien trees start to escape cultivation and crowd out our beloved native Michigan trees and shrubs. Bradford pears are a cultivated variety of wild pears native to China and neighboring countries. When first introduced, it was thought they were unable to produce viable seeds and would therefore not cause any problems. But something happened along the way and now they’ve found a way to reproduce…

Springfield, Missouri KYTV, May 7, 2020: Tree service company responds to On Your Side Investigation

We have an update to an On Your Side Investigation. You might recall on Tuesday we told you about neighbors outside Rogersville who say they were ripped off by same tree service company at the same time. In mid-April, combined, they paid Joseph Jones with Joseph’s Tree Service more than $10,000 and the jobs are not done. Jones claims it was all a big misunderstanding. He says he normally documents jobs, but he didn’t this time. “When I was over there I didn’t have nothing on me at that time because I was across the street working. I had no paperwork or anything on me,” he said. At each property, homeowners say he didn’t pickup limbs, left a mess and he never returned their calls. He says he was instructed to leave wood for camping at one home. Those homeowners say he was supposed to do a lot more than that. Jones says he didn’t know there was a problem until On Your Side called him. “If I got a phone call from them, I must have been in the middle of something. I had something going on and I forgot. Yes, I should have cleaned it up and I didn’t at first but I do apologize for that,” he said. His business cards read licensed and insured, but as On Your Side discovered, he’s not. “I was in the middle of getting that done and with the COVID-19 thing happened. I tried to contact them and they said I couldn’t get that done until everything opened back up,” he said. On Your Side emailed city officials. They say the office is fully staffed and they’ve been processing and issuing licenses daily. Jones also doesn’t have an International Society of Arboriculture certification. His business card reads he’s a certified arborist. “What happened was I’ve paid those to get made. Those ended up getting made with that on there. I didn’t put that on there,” he said…

CNN, April 27, 2020: Planting trees could help this city prevent 400 premature deaths

Many cities around the world are planting trees as a way to fight climate change. But they might also reduce our risks of dying early. Scientists say these trees, and other ways to green urban areas, could be just as beneficial to our mental and physical health and reduce the risk of premature death. New research has put a number on just how many premature deaths could be prevented in one US city if it were to increase tree cover from 20% to 30% within five years. Philadelphia, America’s fifth-largest city, could help as many as 403 adults a year live longer if it meets its existing target, according to a study published Monday in the journal Lancet Planetary Health. The city’s efforts could also yield a nearly $4 billion estimated annual economic benefit. The authors said there’s no reason that other cities, particularly ones in climates similar to Philadelphia, shouldn’t benefit to the same extent. “Although every city has its own characteristics, this study provides an example for all the cities in the world: Many lives can be saved by increasing trees and greening urban environments, even at modest levels,” said Mark Nieuwenhuijsen, the study coordinator and director of the environment and health initiative at the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal). “What’s more, green spaces increase biodiversity and reduce the impact of climate change, making our cities more sustainable and more livable…”

Prince George, British Columbia, Citizen, April 27, 2020: Trees harvested for biomass energy under scrutiny

One of the more contentious sources of renewable energy is biomass – burning wood pellets instead of coal or natural gas to generate heat or electricity. The controversy could grow in B.C, as wood pellet producers appear to be resorting to using more live whole trees to produce wood pellets for export, as opposed to just wood waste. Two B.C. wood pellet producers – Pinnacle Renewable Energy Inc. (TSX:PL) and Pacific BioEnergy – are being singled out by Stand.earth in a new report that suggests that the companies are now using what appears to be live, whole trees. “Wood pellets are obviously the worst and lowest use of our last primary forests in the interior,” said Michelle Connolly, director of Conservation North, which has documented the use of whole trees at B.C. pellet plants. “The B.C. government assured us that green trees would not be used in pellet plants, and clearly that’s not true… The BC government has sold wood pellet exports as an opportunity to make use of waste, such as sawdust and slash piles,” the Stand.earth report states. “Using photos and satellite imagery of both of British Columbia’s biggest pellet companies, Pacific BioEnergy and Pinnacle Renewable Energy, this investigation reveals with absolute certainty that wood pellets are being made from whole trees in British Columbia…”

Phys.org, April 28, 2020: UAE wages war on tiny scourge threatening date palms

Said Al-Ajani looks proudly over his lush date plantation, which recently survived a plague of red weevils—a destructive insect wreaking havoc across the Middle East and North Africa. “For 24 years, we cultivated our land normally. Then, we had to start spraying five to six times a year against the weevil,” said the 60-year-old Emirati, wearing traditional robes with a red and white checkered keffiyeh. In Wiqan, located in the United Arab Emirates but nestled against the border with Oman, he settles down on a carpet rolled out on the ground in the midst of his six-hectare plantation, to share lunch with his relatives and neighbors. Fittingly, the meal served under the spreading palm fronds will end with succulent dates to accompany the coffee. In the Arab world—and particularly during the holy month of Ramadan—the date is more than a fruit, it is a symbol of prosperity and hospitality, and it has played an important role in the development of nations carved out of these hot and arid regions…

Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Gazette, April 27, 2020: Count your blessings, and count your valuable trees

I’ve heard so many people talk about how fortunate they are to live in an area where we can get outside for a dose of sunshine and fresh air. Naturally trees are a big part of our walks or our views from inside apartments or homes. Some trees stand out more than others, and they are usually large, mature trees that provide shade, food and home for squirrels, habitat for birds and pollinators, and for us humans, often an emotional connection. “I’ll chain myself to that tree before I let it be cut down,” commented a neighborhood resident when a beloved street tree was threatened. Her attachment comes from the simple act of walking past it and observing its beauty and all the critters who call it home. Understandably, after tornadoes or hurricanes, trees are often mentioned early in the recovery process as a point of great loss. It is tough to social distance and not gather in large groups. We’ve all had to get creative with celebrating the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, replacing group plantings with webinars and tree hugging social media campaigns. Some households will be planting in their backyards or other special spots. We are all planning to invest in more trees and nearby nature. Regardless of economics, every neighborhood deserves beautiful trees lining the streets and nearby nature in parks and public spaces…

Louisville, Kentucky, Courier-Journal, April 24, 2020: Tree canopy ordinance finally clears Metro Council, along with rental help, city borrowing

Long-awaited changes to Louisville’s tree policies for private property, intended to boost the city’s tree canopy and cut back on losses, were approved Thursday by Louisville Metro Council after months of discussion. Council members said the legislation represented a “good balance” between the need to preserve trees and improve the city’s so-called urban heat island, while promoting the growth Jefferson County wants to see. “This is not perfect, but I think it’s a substantial improvement over our existing ordinances,” said Councilman Bill Hollander, D-9th District, one of the lead sponsors. “For years now, we have known of our shrinking tree canopy and the heat island that is associated with it, and the very, very adverse health issues that are associated with the urban heat island.” Louisville’s tree canopy is estimated by researchers to provide roughly $330 million in benefits each year by collecting stormwater, creating cost-saving shade and mitigating ozone pollution, in addition to providing health benefits like reduced rates of asthma…

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Patriot News, April 24, 2020: Add a tree, pick wisely, and plant it the right way

The loss of so many of our ash trees lately brings home the message why it’s so important that we don’t overplant the same few species.The emerald ash borer has wiped out millions of ash trees in parks, streets, and yards in 35 U.S. states in the last dozen years, bringing to mind the 1950s catastrophe when America lost a huge part of its tree canopy when Dutch elm disease killed the many elms that were a dominant street tree then. Diversity is the best way to limit losses when a new threat comes along. Most of the time, a bug or disease attacks only a particular species or family. When we plant many different kinds of trees and plants, we hedge our vulnerability. Illinois’ Morton Arboretum, one of the nation’s leading tree display and research sites, advises that when planning a new tree, look around the neighborhood and purposely don’t plant what everyone else has. The good news is that we have a lot of excellent, under-used trees to pick from that are likely to do well in Pennsylvania’s soils and climate. Just because a species isn’t often used doesn’t mean it’s no good…

Richmond, Virginia, WWBT-TV, April 25, 2020: Tree service companies urge safety when cleaning up after storms

After severe storms swept through parts of Chesterfield County Friday, many homeowners with more time on their hands amidst the COVID-19 pandemic are taking care of duties usually left to professionals, but Tree removal companies are urging people not to take on more than they can handle especially when it comes to power tools like chainsaws. “90 percent of chainsaw injuries occur to the hands and to the legs less than 10 percent occur to the head and neck although they are far more lethal,” said Timothy Nunnally. “You have to keep in mind that when you’re cutting wood that’s on the ground it is dynamic, so as you’re cutting it the weight distribution of that limb or that log is changing, so it’s moving as you’re cutting it so it’s not hard to get your saw stuck, and you can break the equipment trying to free it.” Nunnally owns and operate Nunnally’s Tree Service Inc. in Chesterfield he says it’s very easy for people not used to operating chainsaws to harms themselves cutting a fallen tree or make a fallen tree more hazardous when trying to remove it. He says that kickback can occur from a chainsaw when the centrifugal force of the saw violently forces the bar upwards towards your head and neck. “Particularly with uprooted trees, people will try to cut the tree up from the top back towards the root-ball and sometimes the tree can actually stand back up and create a brand new hazard that wasn’t present when they started,” Nunnally said. “If you know what to do you start at the root ball end to cut the root-ball free however that is very dangerous, so the best case scenario is just call a professional to help you out…”

Forbes, April 26, 2020: Using Trees To Build A Better World

I worked in Hawaii for five years for a man who owned plantation forests. Inevitably, I ran into people who complained when it was time to harvest these forests. They simply didn’t distinguish between tree farming and clear-cutting of old growth forests. To them, cutting down trees was bad. Period. I thought of this last week when I watched Michael Moore’s new documentary Planet of the Humans. The film has some environmentalists agitated because they charge that there is a lot of misinformation in the film. As an aside, I agree that there are a lot of things wrong with the film, but the fact that Gasland’s writer and director Josh Fox is trying to get the film banned because — in his own words — it is “riddled with falsehoods and misinformation”, is textbook irony. As fellow Forbes contributor Michael Shellenberger correctly notes, Gasland itself is riddled with falsehoods and misinformation. But I digress. Planet of the Humans is extremely critical of using biomass like trees to produce power. They treat the idea of burning trees for power as an environmental abomination. Certainly, the burning of trees can be bad, but one can’t treat that as a universal truth. You wouldn’t make a blanket statement that all drugs are bad, just because some people abuse drugs…

CNN, April 24, 2020: What is Arbor Day? The meaning behind the tree holiday

Today is National Arbor Day, which people celebrate by planting elms, oaks, pines and basically any type of tree they can get their hands on. Here’s a brief look at how this day of tree appreciation came to be. The Latin word for tree is arbor. True to its name, Arbor Day celebrates the preservation and planting of trees. Nebraska was the first state in the US to observe it as a formal holiday in 1872. However, the Arbor Day Foundation says “tree planting festivals are as old as civilization.” In 1872, Julius Sterling Morton, a newspaper editor and former US secretary of agriculture, submitted a resolution to Nebraska’s State Board of Agriculture to set aside one day dedicated to planting trees. After the board passed the resolution, more than one million trees were planted on the first official celebration of the day on April 10, 1872. In 1885, Nebraska moved the holiday to April 22 in honor of Morton’s birthday. The event eventually spread to all 50 states and other countries, including Australia, Brazil and Canada. In 1972, former President Richard Nixon declared National Arbor Day to be celebrated on the last Friday in April. However, some states have designated different dates to ensure the trees are planted at the best time for growth. “The planting of trees is an action that yields a long-range benefit on generations to come,” Nixon, who created the Environmental Protection Agency, wrote in his proclamation. “Arbor Day uniquely symbolizes the truth that the earth belongs to every generation, not just ours…”

Nashville, Tennessee, Tennessean, April 23, 2020: Nashville’s cherry trees survived the NFL draft, but face a rocky 2020 like all of us

For one, brief moment in the spring of 2019, all eyes turned to the Nashville riverfront. This was before the stages went up, before the stars and the crowds and the music and the party. The day the cherry trees came down, Nashville watched. Almost overnight, conversations about the NFL Draft, an enormous shindig that took over both sides of the Cumberland downtown from Lower Broadway to Nissan Stadium, turned to the fate of a row of unassuming cherry blossom trees. More than 20 of the trees in Riverfront Park would need to be removed and mulched to make space for temporary structures related to the draft. The news caused an uproar, drawing protesters to city hall and a petition signed by thousands. Then-Mayor David Briley eventually informed the NFL and the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp. that they would have to remove the trees intact and replant them elsewhere in the city. Randall Lantz, who works for the city’s parks and recreation department in landscaping and horticulture, became “the cherry blossom guy,” he said, trusted by the community to take care of the decorative trees. And he did. In the end, plans were adjusted so only 10 trees need to be moved, and each survived its first year, Lantz said. But the spring of 2020 has brought its own challenges for Nashville’s trees — cherry or otherwise…

BBC, April 23, 2020: Volcanic time-bomb threatens nearby trees

A reduced ability to absorb essential nutrients from the soil and lower rates of turning sunshine into sugar hampered the trees’ growth. A team of researchers also found that toxins released by eruptions continued to limit the trees’ growth. The findings appear in the journal Dendrochronologia. The team said that the widespread impact of volcanic eruptions on trees had been well documented, such as the “year without a summer” in 1816, following the massive Tambora eruption in Indonesia in the previous year, which was deemed to be the biggest volcanic eruption in human history. However, they added, there was little known about the effect eruptions had on surviving trees near to volcanoes. Certain things had been observed, such as damage to the tree’s branches, dust covering the foliage reducing the trees ability to photosynthesize and grow. But few studies had been carried out and meaningful data collated. The team of Spanish and Mexican scientists decided to assess the effects of eruptions on a volcano in central Mexico, which had become active again at the turn of the millennium…

Cleveland, Ohio, Plain Dealer, April 23, 2020: Avoid mulching mistakes and better care for your trees

In a week that features both Earth Day and Arbor Day, the Cuyahoga Soil and Water Conservation District is launching a program aimed at ending poor mulching and planting practices. “Let the Flare See the Air” will enlist members of the public in identifying tree care blunders. The flare is the area of the tree where roots begin to emerge from the trunk. Amy Roskilly, conservation education and communications manager for the district, says she hopes to have “extra eyes out there telling me where these improperly planted trees are.” After spotting tree care issues, volunteers need only complete a simple Google form with observations and a location. If an address cannot be determined, a nearby intersection or property description will suffice. In addition, photos of the struggling trees can be sent to aroskilly@cuyahogaswcd.org. The district page also features an informative video and images, as well as links to websites with descriptions of proper planting and mulching techniques and methods for remedying existing problems. The identities of volunteers will not be provided to property owners. “We don’t want to out anybody,” notes Roskilly…

Atlanta, Georgia, Journal Constitution, April 22, 2020: How to know whether your tree will fall during a bad storm

Trees provide many benefits, but during Georgia storms, they can fall and create a dangerous situation. With more storms expected this week, it’s crucial for residents to keep an eye out for falling trees. The following guide will help you keep your trees from falling (when possible) and know what to do if it does happen. Trees can fall during storms for a variety of reasons, including: Winds can uproot a tree, with the tree trunk acting as a lever. This is a greater problem for tall trees, because the force that’s applied to the roots and trunk is greater as the tree’s height increases, according to Scientific American. This can also happen if a tree was previously in a more forested area, protected by other trees that have since been cut down (to create a new housing lot, for example). When the ground becomes saturated from large amounts of rain, trees can topple more easily. The more wet the ground is, the less wind it will take to make it fall. During an ice storm, the weight of ice can increase the weight of branches by 30 times. Lightning strikes can cause a tree to fall or weaken it so it’s more vulnerable in future storms…

Atlanta, Georgia, Northside Neighbor, April 22, 2020: Report: Atlanta has misappropriated $3.3M from its tree trust fund

A report by The Tree Next Door states the city of Atlanta has misappropriated $3.3 million from the tree trust fund over a 10-year period. The Tree Next Door is an organization that aims to protect Atlanta’s tree canopy by advocating for a strong tree ordinance and educating the community about their rights and responsibilities under the law, according to its website. The report, released April 20, also states the tree trust fund earned interest that was diverted to another citywide fund consisting of several other trust funds, a total of $500,000 just in the past five years. It also states there was no oversight or accountability into the management of the tree trust fund. According to the report, between 2009 and 2019, more than $3.3 million went to salaries and benefits for employees the tree trust fund is not supposed to cover with $2.4 million misappropriated by the department of city planning and $900,000 by the department of parks and recreation. “As outlined in the Atlanta tree protection ordinance, most of these funds are intended for planting trees and buying forested land,” the report stated. “Some exceptions exist, such as expenses of the tree conservation commission and specific salaries in both the arborist division and the parks department…”

Provo, Utah, Daily Herald, April 22, 2020: Improve fruit tree production

Due to the early and hard freeze last October, many leaves on trees did not have a chance to evacuate the sugars, nutrients, from their leaves and send it to their trunks to store for this spring. That is why many leaves did not change colors and continued to hang on the tree all winter. As a result, all those fruit trees will be short the amount of nutrients needed for this year’s leaves and buds, which means tree leaves and buds will be small and in some cases will not produce any fruit. To compensate, Mann suggests spraying with a fruit foliar as soon as leaves appear. Foliar should be sprayed at least twice about 10 days a part ensuring the spray is applied to the underside of the leaves. The top of the leaves is mostly for protection of the leaf and the underside is where the nutrients will enter the leaves increasing the size of the leaf and buds, providing a larger surface for photosynthesis to bring nutrients from the roots. Although it is advised to fertilize at least three times a year, the foliar spray is about nine-10 times more effective than fertilizing around the base of the tree and should be done this year. One of the common problems Mann discovered in Sanpete County is that many of the fruit trees are hardly ever fertilized which results in small fruit and can also cause fruit to prematurely drop to the ground for lack of nutrients. For that reason, good fruit requires yearly fertilization. It is a common practice among most orchardists to fertilize at least three times per year…

Phys.org, April 22, 2020: A tree-mendous study: Biomass from forest restoration

The United States is made up of more than 2 billion acres of land—nearly 750 million of which represent forest lands. These woodlands—thick with fragrant trees and foliage—are havens for campers and wildlife. But for many years, land management and wildfire suppression practices have resulted in more trees than occur under natural conditions. These thick masses of trees, while creating a peaceful environment, serve as fuel for devastating wildfires caused by sources such as lightning strikes and human carelessness. To reduce wildfire risk, organizations that oversee the nation’s forests, such as the U.S. Forest Service, conduct forest restoration activities such as selective timber harvesting and thinning. In a handful of states in the western U.S. alone, forest restoration activities have the potential to produce 0.6 to 2.1 billion dry tons of biomass in the form of residues and small-diameter trees that can be converted to heat sources for homes and businesses or biofuels that power cars, trucks, and airplanes. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has partnered with the U.S. Forest Service to help organizations evaluate how to easily and quickly prioritize restoration efforts, which are often affected on a wide scale by air quality standards and limited budgets…

Vancouver, British Columbia, Sun, April 21, 2020: This year’s tree-planting seedlings could end up in a huge compost pile

For B.C.’s tree-planting industry, COVID-19’s arrival came at the worst of times. This year was to be the industry’s great leap forward, the biggest season on record with more than 300 million seedlings slated to be planted. But while the industry managed to get the provincial government to declare “reforestation” an essential service, it may not be enough to prevent many of those seedlings from becoming one of the biggest compost piles in history. At the industry’s urging, in late March B.C.’s chief forester Diane Nicholls delayed the start of the planting season in the interior of the province until early May. The industry, rural communities, First Nations and the province must now decide if it is even possible or desirable to put 5,000 planters on the ground in the Interior where three-quarters of all trees are scheduled for planting. First Nations communities in particular cannot afford to have the virus show up. Many are isolated without access to adequate health care, have crowded housing conditions, and have elders who may be their community’s only Indigenous language speakers…

National Interest, April 22, 2020: Cities of the Future Will Need A Lot of Trees

The 21st century is the urban century. It has been forecast that urban areas across the world will have expanded by more than 2.5 billion people by 2050. The scale and speed of urbanisation has created significant environmental and health problems for urban dwellers. These problems are often made worse by a lack of contact with the natural world. With research group the Tree Urbanistas, I have been considering and debating how to solve these problems. By 2119, it is only through re-establishing contact with the natural world, particularly trees, that cities will be able to function, be viable and able to support their populations. The creation of urban forests will make cities worth living in, able to function and support their populations: Treetopias. This re-design will include the planting of many more urban trees and other vegetation – and making use of new, more creative methods. Although we didn’t fully realise it at the time, the 1986 Hundertwasserhaus in Vienna, a building that incorporated 200 trees in its design, was the start of more creative urban forestry thinking…

Galveston, Texas, Daily News, April 21, 2020: Tree shade can cause problems with lawn growth

I commonly hear from gardeners who complain that grass won’t grow under a tree no matter what they do. When I mention that the shade created by the tree is the likely problem, the standard response is that grass always grew there before. What they likely do not realize is that as trees grow, shade created by a tree increases from year to year. Here’s a basic lesson in horticulture: shade trees grow up to do exactly what they were planted to do — create shade. Eventually, areas where grass had always grown well before will no longer receive sufficient sunlight for lawn grass to grow. Bare areas occur under and around trees because conditions eventually become too shady for grass to thrive there. Eventually, even an area where grass has always grown well before will no longer get enough sun. If you are trying to deal with this sort of situation, here are some things you can do. The amount of sunlight reaching the turf can be increased by selectively pruning trees in your landscape. The lower branches and some of the inner branches may be pruned to allow more light to reach the lawn below. Keep in mind that raising and thinning the canopy on older, mature trees is often done best by a professional arborist who can determine which branches should be removed without adversely affecting the tree…

Monroe, Louisiana, News Star, April 21, 2020: Men stole from home of tornado victim after cutting trees: WMPD

Two West Monroe men are facing charges after they allegedly burglarized a house after removing storm debris. According to arrest reports, a police officer was dispatched to the 200 block of Riverbend on the burglary call. A neighbor said he saw two white men driving a black Ford truck enter the home and exit with TVs. They then left at a high rate of speed. The witness recognized the men as two people who were at the home the day before cutting trees. The landlord for the property told West Monroe Police officers he paid John Hummel, age 28, and Roy Knight, age 49, to clean up the home and board it up for the resident. The victim later contacted the WMPD and said she was missing multiple TVs, gaming consoles and jewelry…

Eugene, Oregon, Register-Guard, April 20, 2020: Protesters, tree sitter gather to oppose construction of Eugene apartment complex

About 40 protesters — one sitting in a tree — gathered Monday morning outside Maurie Jacobs Park in opposition to planned apartment construction on the south end of River Road, just north of the park along the Willamette River. For years, people living in that neighborhood have opposed the construction by Seattle-based Evergreen Housing Development Group of a 94-unit, three-story apartment complex being called the Lombard Apartments project. The market-rate apartments, neighbors believe, will bring too much traffic to the neighborhood and ruin a usable, tree-populated green space in the city. The protests coalesced around the overnight arrival of a tree sitter in a maple on the edge of the 3.5-acre site who called himself “Scrimshaw” and said he was there for the same reason as others gathered around the tree Monday. Evergreen Housing Development Group called Eugene police when they learned the protesters were on its property, according to Andrew Brand, the company’s executive director of real estate. Eugene police asked “Scrimshaw” to leave but the tree-sitter refused, said spokesperson Melinda McLaughlin. If Evergreen Housing Development Group submits a trespass letter of consent, Eugene police will be authorized to remove him from the property…

Atlanta, Georgia, Saporta Report, April 20, 2020: Trees and seedlings come up $3.4 million short in Atlanta spending, say advocates

Atlanta tree advocates say the city spent $3.4 million in the last decade on salaries that should have been spent on planting trees and buying forested land. The figure comes from a report put together for The Tree Next Door, an Atlanta advocacy group, and it draws on legal and accounting experts and data obtained from the city via open record requests. The group commissioned the report because they say the public figures on the city’s tree trust fund have long been unclear. Money goes into the fund from developers and residents who cut down trees. And except for some allowed overhead on things like salaries and education, the cash should come out on seedlings and forested land. Tree spending has come up at the public meetings that have been going on about rewriting the city’s tree ordinance — and possibly hiking the price of cutting down Atlanta trees. “And the questions came not only from activists, but also from developers,” said Stephanie Coffin, a founder of The Tree Next Door. The city’s tree trust fund comes to about $14 million. The city can spend up to $445,000 of that on salaries in the departments of planning and parks per year, according to The Tree Next Door’s reading of city ordinance. But they say they’ve found more like $800,000 on salary spending in recent years and varying amounts before that…

Cheyenne, Wyoming, Wyoming News Now, April 20, 2020: City of Cheyenne Urban Forestry Division’s Tips on Spruce Tree Maintenance

The City of Cheyenne Urban Forestry Division is going to be going around town spraying spruce trees in order to prevent ips Beetle infestation. They said Cheyenne has experienced an ips beetle epidemic for the past few years. According to the urban forestry division, spruce trees are the second most common trees in Cheyenne, behind cottonwood. Ips beetles’ spreads into two generations. The first generation mature through the winter under the bark, then they emerge and fly and re-infest beetles in the spring. Then they mature throughout the summer and fly again in July or August. The urban forestry division wants to spray the stem in the larger branches before they fly, so that when the beetles hit a new tree, the insecticide will kill them. Here’s some tips on preventing beetle infestation: 1) Identify that you have a spruce tree. Most evergreens with a pure middle shape along with small sharp needles and 2-4-inch cones, are spruce trees. 2) Consider having an arborist spray the tree for you. If one owns a large spruce tree, the forestry division recommends hiring a licensed arborist to spray the tree. “Spraying a large spruce tree is very difficult work,” City forester, Mark Ellison said. “They have to get the spray the top of the tree because the beetle typically attacks the top first, then works its way down…”

Atlanta, Georgia, WSB-TV, April 20, 2020: The reason why trees fall may not be what you think

We’re now entering the peak of severe weather season in Georgia. We’ve already seen a breakout of severe storms earlier this month, and there are sure to be more later this spring. One of the biggest impacts of severe storms always seems to be downed trees. There’s always a concern about wind, but rain and soil also play big parts in why trees fall. We learned there are three factors that cause them to fall: The first is people: Construction can weaken tree roots. Once that happens, it’s easier for high wind to blow down a tree. Second is Georgia’s soil: Georgia red clay gets especially slimy in the rain. Again, it doesn’t take much to bring down a tree, in those conditions. Third is drought. When the ground gets especially dry, trees get weak. Add the occasional heavy rain and a strong gust of wind, and a tree can easily fall. It’s a good idea to have your trees checked by an arborist and budget for tree care every three to five years…

Victoria, Texas, Advocate, April 18, 2020, 2 years later, poisoned trees remain a mystery at Victoria office building

Eden Yaklin remembers the day she noticed the trees at Heritage Mark had been poisoned. The property manager was taking a routine walk around the office building about two years ago when she smelled something strange near the trees. After investigating more closely, she knew something was wrong: Aside from the smell, the trees had an unusual number of brown leaves and there were circles of dead grass around the trunks. “And when I picked up a handful of soil to smell it, it almost knocked me out,” she said. Seven decades-old live oak trees had been poisoned, and despite efforts to save them, four of the trees died. Though it’s been more than two years, the building’s management doesn’t want the public to forget what happened, Yaklin said. After the incident, Victoria Crime Stoppers got involved, and the building’s owner, Donald Elder, offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of whoever is responsible. Because the culprit has never been found, that offer still stands, Yaklin said. “I find it extremely odd that no one ever came forward,” she said. “We’re still hoping someone will…”

Detroit, Michigan, WXYZ-TV, April 15, 2020: DNR: Michigan oak trees currently at high risk for fungal disease

Those with oak trees, particularly red oaks, should be wary of oak wilt spores carried by flying beetles, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources said.From April 15 to July 15, oak trees are at high risk for oak wilt, a serious fungal disease that can weaken white oaks and kill red oak trees within a few weeks of infection. “The guidelines against pruning oak trees during this period are a way to help prevent the spread of the disease,” said James Wieferich, forest health specialist in the DNR’s Forest Resources Division. “Unfortunately, many people learn not to prune or otherwise wound trees from mid-April to mid-July only after they lose their oaks to oak wilt.” Once a tree is infected, the fungus can also move to neighboring red oaks through root grafts. Oaks within about 100 feet of each other, depending on the size of the trees, have connected root systems, the DNR said. Left untreated, oak wilt will continue to move from tree to tree, killing more red oaks. As more trees die, more fungal spores are produced, which allows the beetle to carry infection to new locations…

Dailyo, April 20, 2020: How misinformation and rumours made Russian poplar trees surprise victims of Covid-19 in Kashmir

The female variety of Russian poplar trees has turned out to be the surprise victim of Covid-19 in Kashmir. Over the past 15 days, thousands of poplar trees, also known as Russian poplar, have been axed in the Valley over fears that the pollen generated by them can act as a carrier of coronavirus. As fears over the Covid-19 pandemic mounted in Kashmir Valley, the government ordered the axing of poplar trees. The government order on the subject, issued April 2, stated, “A meeting held under the chairmanship of Pandurang K Pole, IAS, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir on April 2, 2020, to discuss the pollen-related infections in the wake of already spread of Covid-19 [sic] to work out the strategy and measures to get rid of this menace before the onset of flowering season Female Russian Poplar trees 42,000 trees need to be felled down in order to get rid of the menace of the pollen-bearing by this specie.” According to press statements issued by the Department of Information and Public Relations, deputy commissioners of various districts in the Valley ordered the axing of poplars. The fear of coronavirus runs so deep that over the past two weeks, Kashmiris employed labourers to cut down trees worth lakhs of rupees. Kashmir is home to about 20 million poplar trees. In 2015, the poplars were axed in large numbers over fears that their pollen causes respiratory ailments. Botanists in the region have repeatedly stated that the poplar trees do not trigger respiratory ailments and that it is wrong to link them to the transmission of Covid-19. The indiscriminate felling that started about a fortnight ago stopped after the Jammu and Kashmir High Court stayed the government order to cut the female poplar trees. The High Court has directed the Chief Secretary to constitute a committee to examine the matter within four days. The court has directed that the panel must include experts on trees, medicine, respiratory diseases and other subjects relevant to the issue…

Iowa Learning Farms will host a webinar Wednesday, April 22 at noon about the importance of including trees in Iowa’s water quality

Iowa Learning Farms will host a webinar Wednesday, April 22 at noon about the importance of including trees in Iowa’s water quality conversation. Billy Beck, assistant professor and extension forestry specialist at Iowa State University, will discuss the benefits that trees, forests and forestry provide for both water quality and on-farm income, as well as resources and techniques landowners may utilize to achieve successful on-the-ground projects. “Trees represent powerful resources that are often underutilized and undervalued by agricultural landowners,” said Beck, whose research and extension programming focuses on the impacts that trees, woodlands and forests have on water quality and quantity in the Midwest. This webinar will also present results from the recent “Forests and Water Quality Summit”—including a vision for the role of forestry in Iowa’s water quality efforts. To participate, shortly before noon on April 22, click the following URL or type it into your browser: https://iastate.zoom.us/j/364284172. Or, go to https://iastate.zoom.us/join and enter meeting ID: 364 284 172. Or, join from a dial-in phone line by dialing: +1 312 626 6799 or +1 646 876 9923; meeting ID: 364 284 172. The webinar will also be recorded and archived on the ILF website, so that it can be watched at any time. Archived webinars are available…

Yahoo.com, April 16, 2020: In the redwoods, logging and tree sitting continue, even as the pandemic shuts mills

The coronavirus has shut down most of Humboldt County, as it has the rest of the state, but some traditions of northwest California endure: Loggers keep felling redwoods, and eco-activists keep putting their bodies on the limbs to stop them. Thirty miles north of Eureka, in a coastal forest just east of Highway 101, a generation-old battle between tree sitters and loggers enters a new chapter, even after local sawmills have closed. Just off the highway in the town of Trinidad sits an old logging trail on property now owned by the Green Diamond Resource Co., a forest products firm. From the trailhead, after a 20-minute hike through the dark, lush forest, one encounters a 13.5-acre clearing where hundreds of felled redwoods, firs and pine trees litter the ground. Tree stumps, broken branches, and a few sun-blotched, withered ferns poke through the debris. It’s here, at the eastern edge of the clearing, that a group of young, masked activists are engaged in a different form of social distancing. They are taking turns sleeping in the upper reaches of a giant redwood tree. They are environmental activists working with an organization known as the Redwood Forest Defenders. And they are trying to stop Green Diamond from felling any more trees on this roughly 18-acre tract…

San Diego, California, Union Tribune, April 16, 2020: Citrus tree HLB disease found close to San Diego

While Huanglongbing (HLB) — a deadly citrus tree disease — has yet to be detected in San Diego, the proximity to nearby detections in Orange County and parts of Mexico means citrus trees in San Diego are at risk. It is now more important than ever for San Diegans to stay vigilant and inspect citrus trees for HLB if we want to preserve backyard and commercial citrus in the county. HLB is a bacterial disease that affects the vascular system of citrus trees and plants. While not harmful to humans, the disease slowly kills citrus trees. A small insect called the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) can spread the bacteria that causes HLB as it feeds on citrus tree leaves. Once a tree is infected, there is no cure. The tree will begin to produce rancid-tasting fruit and eventually die, while putting neighboring trees at risk of the disease as it can be spread from tree to tree by ACP. HLB affects all types and varieties of citrus trees, and even some non-citrus host plants like curry…

Kensington, Maryland, Associated Press, April 16, 2020: Study: US West’s megadrought turning into the worst in 1,200 years

A two-decade-long dry spell that has parched much of the western United States is turning into one of the deepest megadroughts in the region in more than 1,200 years, a new study found. And about half of this historic drought can be blamed on man-made global warming, according to a study in Thursday’s journal Science. Scientists looked at a nine-state area from Oregon and Wyoming down through California and New Mexico, plus a sliver of southwestern Montana and parts of northern Mexico. They used thousands of tree rings to compare a drought that started in 2000 and is still going — despite a wet 2019 — to four past megadroughts since the year 800. With soil moisture as the key measurement, they found only one other drought that was as big and was likely slightly bigger. That one started in 1575, just 10 years after St. Augustine, the first European city in the United States, was founded, and that drought ended before the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock in 1620. What’s happening now is “a drought bigger than what modern society has seen,” said study lead author A. Park Williams, a bioclimatologist at Columbia University. Daniel Swain, a UCLA climate scientist who wasn’t part of the study, called the research important because it provides evidence “that human-caused climate change transformed what might have otherwise been a moderate long-term drought into a severe event comparable to the ‘megadroughts’ of centuries past.” What’s happening is that a natural but moderate drought is being worsened by temperatures that are 2.9 degrees Fahrenheit (1.6 degrees Celsius) hotter than the past and that suck moisture out of the ground, Williams said. It’s much like how clothes and plants dry faster in the warmth of indoors than they do outside, he said…

CNBC, April 17, 2020: How the mass planting of trees could transform our cities and tackle air pollution

Hubs of culture, politics and finance, the cities many of us call home can, at times, be hard to live in. The challenges of an urban environment often include overcrowding, a high cost of living and air pollution. The latter is a serious issue that can affect us all: according to the World Health Organization, it’s estimated that air pollution kills 7 million people each year, with 9 out of 10 people breathing air which contains “high levels of pollutants.” One solution to help tackle the problem of air pollution could be increasing the number of trees and green spaces within urban areas, according to experts. As well as being aesthetically pleasing – the sight of branches covered in blossom can lift even the gloomiest of moods — trees can offer a range of benefits. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the UN, for instance, has stated that one tree can absorb as much as 150 kilograms of carbon dioxide annually. It has also described “large urban trees” as being “excellent filters for urban pollutants and fine particulates.” A number of cities are now making concerted efforts to improve green spaces and boost the number of trees on their streets and in parks…

Phoenix, Arizona, Republic, April 15, 2020: As disease threatens citrus trees, researchers target the insects that are spreading it

In the next few months, James Truman will be planting over 400 new citrus trees on his farm in Surprise. Many of the trees on his farm are puny things. As he strides among them to check for signs of stress, the 6-foot-3 farmer towers over each tree, each one a skinny bundle of branches and leaves supported by stakes in the ground. It will take several years before they mature into fruit-bearing trees and 20 years for them to reach full fruit production. “You lose a lot every time you lose a tree so if you have a disease come in and stun a bunch of trees in your operation …. it could be quite devastating,” Truman said. Truman is worried about the risk of one disease in particular: citrus greening disease. It’s fast-spreading, hard to detect, and lethal for trees. “Once you have it,” Truman said, “you’re screwed.” The disease has already decimated citrus groves in the other major citrus-producing states of Florida, California and Texas. According to John Caravetta, the associate director of the Arizona Department of Agriculture, the disease has also spread to Mexico. “We’re surrounded,” he said…

Phys.org, April 15, 2020: Mahogany tree family dates back to last hurrah of the dinosaurs

You might own something made from mahogany like furniture, paneling or a musical instrument. Mahogany is a commercially important wood, valued for its hardness and beauty. The United States is the world’s top importer of the tropical timber from leading producers like Peru and Brazil. Unfortunately, mahogany is harvested illegally a lot of the time. For science, mahogany is important, too—the fossil presence of the mahogany family is a telltale of where tropical forests once stood. Until recently, paleobotanists had only found evidence the mahogany family extended back to the Paleocene (about 60 million years ago). Now, a new paper written by University of Kansas researcher Brian Atkinson in the American Journal of Botany shows the mahogany family goes back millions of years more, to the last hurrah of the dinosaurs, the Cretaceous. “For understanding when many of the different branches of the tree of life evolved, we’re primarily dependent on the fossil record,” said Atkinson, an assistant professor of ecology & evolutionary biology and curator in the Biodiversity Institute’s Division of Paleobotany. “In this case, Meliaceae, the mahogany family, is an ecologically and economically important group of trees. A lot of researchers have used this group as a study system to better understand the evolution of tropical rainforests. This work is the first definitive evidence that the tropically important trees were around during the Cretaceous period, when we first start to see the modernization of ecosystems and modern groups of plants…”

Atlanta, Georgia, WSB-TV, April 15, 2020: Here’s how you can protect your home from falling trees

Trees make the metro Atlanta area beautiful, but when it comes to storms, our trees put many of our homes and businesses at risk of damage when they fall. Severe Weather Team 2 Meteorologist Eboni Deon learned how you can protect your home. “We have a lot more chance of tree failure when they’re fully leafed-out than when they’re not because of the wind mast,” Bryant said. “Why does the ship sail? Because the wind catches the sail.” Bryant said any tree has the potential to fail depending on the strength of the wind. “It is so important to have your trees checked out by an arborist, especially if you live around mature hardwoods,” Bryant said. The heavier the tree, the more damage it will do. “The further away it is from your house, the more momentum the canopy can build as it comes down and do more damage,” Bryant said. There are usually indications a tree could come down. If it has been partially uprooted, there will be evidence…

Phys.org, April 15, 2020: Ash dieback is less severe in isolated ash trees

New research published in the British Ecological Society’s Journal of Ecology finds that ash dieback is far less severe in the isolated conditions ash is often found in, such as forests with low ash density or in open canopies like hedges, suggesting the long term impact of the disease on Europe’s ash trees will be more limited than previously thought. The research looked at a 22km2 area in North-eastern France, where ash dieback was first observed in 2010. Although the environment had little impact on the initial spread of the disease, the researchers found that after ten years, the disease remained mild in many places. “We found that the disease had spread to virtually all ash present in the studied landscape within two years. Nevertheless, in many areas ash trees remained relatively healthy” said lead author of the study Dr. Benoit Marçais, French National Institute for Agriculture, Food, and Environment (INRAE). “The view that only the most resistant part of the ash population, just a few percent of the individuals, will survive the ash dieback pandemic is wrong. We see that in many environments not favourable to ash dieback, the proportion of ash that remain heathy is closer to 80-95% than to 5%, although the disease may be locally very severe.” added Dr. Marçais…

Salem, Oregon, Statesman Journal, April 14, 2020: Salem public works hasn’t enforced tree ordinance, costing taxpayers $107,220

City code prohibits anyone from trimming or removing city-owned trees without a permit. It provides for fines of up to $2,000 per occurrence, and requires offenders to also spend the assessed value of the trees on tree restoration. The lack of enforcement came to light following public outcry over the city’s response to the Gatti tree topping. The brothers said they topped the city trees, as well as some of their own, to improve safety and visibility on their property, at Liberty and Commercial streets NE, where they have hosted a huge Christmas light display for decades. Tree topping, also called heading or tipping, is the removal of a majority of a tree’s branches. Experts say trees should never be topped, which removes most of the branches. Richard Gatti said he knew he should have obtained a permit, but believed he was saving the city money by doing the work himself. The city fined the Gattis $3,000, and ordered them to restore the trees, most likely by planting saplings…

Houston, Texas, Chronicle, April 14, 2020: Urban tree planting grants now available in Tennessee

Tennessee’s forestry division is now accepting proposals for urban tree planting projects. Local governments, private non-profit organizations, and educational institutions have until June 1 to apply for urban tree planting funds under the Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program, a Division of Forestry news release said Tuesday. The program encourages local governments to increase and improve city tree populations. Officials say the program offers cost sharing for tree planting on public property, rights-of-way, and private non-profit land. Program funds cover half the cost of trees and shipping, contracted planting, mulch and other materials, the news release said. Urban forestry funds can also be used for tree planting on private property, but only in areas within a 35-foot (11-meter) zone extending outward from the edge of a river, stream, or creek bank, officials said…

Los Angeles, California, Times, April 15, 2020: 10 pioneer-era apple types thought extinct found in Pacific Northwest

A team of retirees who scour the remote ravines and windswept plains of the Pacific Northwest for long-forgotten pioneer orchards has rediscovered 10 apple varieties that were believed to be extinct — the largest number ever unearthed in a single season by the nonprofit Lost Apple Project. The Vietnam veteran and former FBI agent who make up the nonprofit recently learned of their tally from last fall’s apple sleuthing from expert botanists at the Temperate Orchard Conservancy in Oregon, where all the apples are sent for study and identification. The apples positively identified as previously “lost” were among hundreds of fruits collected in October and November from 140-year-old orchards tucked into small canyons or hidden in forests that have since grown up around them in rural Idaho and Washington state. “It was just one heck of a season,” said EJ Brandt, who hunts for the apples along with fellow amateur botanist David Benscoter. “It was almost unbelievable. If we had found one apple or two apples a year in the past, we thought were were doing good. But we were getting one after another after another. I don’t know how we’re going to keep up with that.” Each fall, Brandt and Benscoter spend countless hours and log hundreds of miles searching for ancient — and often dying — apple trees across the Pacific Northwest by truck, all-terrain vehicle and on foot. They collect hundreds of apples from long-abandoned orchards that they find using old maps, county fair records, newspaper clippings and nursery sales ledgers that can tell them which homesteader bought what apple tree and when the purchase happened…

Reading, Pennsylvania, Eagle, April 15, 2020: What in the blue blazes? A plan to kill spotted lanternflies

Ailanthus Altissima, more commonly known as a tree of heaven, is technically an invasive species. As many of us know, it also happens to be the preferred home of another invasive species, the spotted lanternfly. Recently, someone brought to my attention blue blazes painted on several ailanthus trees on a property where they hunt. This piqued my curiosity. In my hiker mindset, blue blazes mean a spring or overlook, but in this case, clearly, it meant something else. I contacted Evan Corondi from the Berks County Conservation District for some answers. As it turns out, in the ongoing battle to stop the spread of the spotted lanternfly, the conservation district, along with the USDA, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and the Penn State Extension, have combined efforts to deliver a one-two punch by controlling the bugs and the tree. The control program uses federal funds earmarked for conservation districts to perform such work. The conservation district decided to use the money to aid private landowners by controlling the favored host tree of the spotted lanternfly…

Palm Springs, California, Desert Sun, April 13, 2020: Joshua trees recommended for endangered species listing in California

The Joshua tree — the Southwest’s weird, beloved, iconic plant — took a big step toward heightened legal protection with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s recommendation to list it under the state’s Endangered Species Act going public Monday. The decision applies to the western Joshua tree — one of two similar species — and comes in response to a petition that the Center for Biological Diversity, an environmental advocacy group, filed in October. Two months before that request was received, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service denied a similar action under the federal act. “We’re delighted that the department followed the science and the law and recommended that the species advance one step closer to protection,” said Brendan Cummings, who authored the petition in his role as the center’s conservation director. Next, the listing process moves on to the state’s Fish and Game Commission, which is a board appointed by the governor. The commission often follows recommendations given to it by the department and will vote on the matter in June…

Yahoo.com, April 13, 2020: Iceland’s Forest Department Urges People to Hug Trees to Feel ‘Relaxed’ amid Social Distancing

With the outbreak of the novel coronavirus pushing multiple nations to undergo lockdown, ‘social distancing’ has become the need of the hour. In such sad times, the Icelandic Forestry Service is asking people to hug trees and plants while maintaining social distance from humans, as reported in Iceland Review. The incident took place at the Hallormsstaður National Forest in East Iceland, where forest rangers are busy cleaning up snow on the roads so that locals can go and hug trees. “When you hug [a tree], you feel it first in your toes, then up your legs and into your chest and eventually up into your head. It is a wonderful feeling of relaxation,” the report quoted forest ranger Þór Þorfinnsson as saying. However, this request comes with a warning to be careful about hugging the same tree. Þorfinnsson urges the locales to walk in the forest and hug different trees rather than holding the first tree they encounter. The forest ranger suggests that hugging a tree for five minutes is enough to start your day on a happy mode. “Five minutes is really good, if you can give yourself five minutes of your day to hug [a tree], that’s definitely enough,” he added…

London, UK, Daily Mail, April 13, 2020: The clump of 33 trees in Alaska that forms ‘America’s smallest national forest’

From a distance it looks like a big bush, but this is actually a clump of trees – and America’s smallest national forest, according to the locals. ‘Adak National Forest’ comprises just 33 trees and you’ll find it – if you are a particularly hardy traveller and don’t mind a bracing gust or two – on the remote Alaskan island of Adak, part of the volcanic Aleutian archipelago. And when we say remote, we mean it – the Google Streetview car has not made it out there. The origins of the bizarre ‘forest’ can be traced back to the Second World War – and the National Forest declaration began as joke, but the title has stuck (though it’s not officially recognised). The first trees at this location were planted on the orders of Brigadier General Simon Bolivar Buckner Jr, who wanted to cheer up his contingent of around 6,000 troops. They were guarding the Alaskan islands against the Japanese and their morale was taking a battering in the brutal conditions – think wind, mud, rain, fog and freezing temperatures. It was decided that some Christmas trees, in particular, would boost spirits, so in 1943 a formal programme of festive pine tree planting began and continued through to 1945, according to Atlas Obscura…

FarmingUK, April 13, 2020: Tree planting could lead to land use and habitat loss, report warns

The Natural Capital Committee (NCC) has published a report on using nature-based interventions to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. In particular, the potential for forestry and woodland to absorb carbon has led to a commitment to increase tree planting in England. The Committee on Climate Change recommends a yearly planting rate of 30,000 ha worth of woodland, around 90–120 million trees per year. But while the NCC says trees can deliver habitats for wildlife, recreation and flood storage, they need to be planted in the ‘right place for the right reason’. Increased planting ‘without careful planning’ could lead to the loss of habitats and land uses, including grasslands, heathlands and peatlands, the report said…

Forbes, April 9, 2020: How A Trillion More Trees Could Combat Climate Change

Last month I discussed the announcement by Jeff Bezos, founder, president and CEO of Amazon AMZN — that he would commit $10 billion toward fighting climate change. The money would be used to establish the Bezos Earth Fund, which would “fund scientists, activists, NGOs — any effort that offers a real possibility to help preserve and protect the natural world.” As I discussed previously, there are two big targets in this fight: Reducing ongoing CO2 emissions, and removing CO2 that is already in the atmosphere. I mentioned the potential for trees as an efficient way of removing atmospheric CO2. Vegetation takes atmospheric CO2 and converts it through photosynthesis into biomass. But it’s a slow process, and it doesn’t permanently sequester the CO2. Eventually most of the biomass once again becomes CO2. I was subsequently contacted by multiple people who wanted to share more information about the potential to use trees for atmospheric carbon sequestration. Today I want to share some thoughts with one of these people. I plan to share more thoughts on this next week. Planting enough trees to make an impact would have to be an extensive effort, but there are already ambitious efforts underway, such as the Trillion Tree Campaign. A massive campaign of tree planting could remove CO2 from the atmosphere and at least bind it up for decades. It’s not a permanent solution, but it buys time. For context, at 200 trees per acre, this would require an estimated 7.8 million square miles, more than double the size of the continental U.S. at 3.1 million square miles. This becomes a challenge considering the competing uses for land around the world…

St. Paul, Minnesota, Pioneer Press, April 11, 2020: Avoid pruning oak trees now to combat oak wilt disease, experts say

Though it’s time for spring yard cleanup, forest health specialists are asking homeowners to avoid pruning or wounding oak trees to prevent oak wilt disease. The spring weather encourages sap-feeding beetles to transmit a fungus that causes oak wilt, said University of Minnesota Extension Specialist Matt Russell. Pruning oak trees attracts the insects to the trees. All oak trees are susceptible, but red oak species like northern red oaks and pin oaks are more vulnerable and can show immediate symptoms, such as rapid wilting of leaves, according to Russell. “Oak wilt is commonly seen in the Twin Cities metro and southeastern Minnesota,” Russell said. “But we’re especially concerned with the disease spreading north and west into Minnesota’s healthy oak forests.” Move any firewood from oaks that may have died from oak wilt to other locations, Russell said. Even if trees have been cut down for firewood, the fungus can survive underneath the bark for several months…

Grand Haven, Michigan, Tribune, April 11, 2020: C3 to launch tree-planting drive

C3 is launching another Earth Day tree planting initiative this year. This year’s recipient is the city of Grand Haven. Last year, the inclusive spiritual community’s Earth Day effort brought 47 new trees to the village of Spring Lake with a donation of $3,180. “The intent is to capture useful carbon from the atmosphere and to reforest and beautify our area by accepting donations from caring individuals for every jet flight they took last year, or plan to take in 2020,” said Ryan Cotton, C3 Earth Day volunteer. The 2020 tree planting program, called “Plant-up and Fly Right,” will officially launch at 10 a.m. Sunday during Kent Dobson’s virtual teachings on the C3 Facebook page. Cotton said the intent is to reforest our communities after recent ash borer devastation, to remove carbon and climate impacts produced by jet planes, and to overall enhance the area’s quality of life. “West Michigan residents can be environmental all year long,” Cotton said. “Yet, just one flight can negate all our environment efforts due to the added carbon in the atmosphere from flying. The remedy is to plant a tree that uses this carbon for the next 15 years, while beautifying where we live at the same time…”

Tampa, Florida, WTSP-TV, April 10, 2020: Stressed out? Go sit under a tree

Studies show that trees make us happy. Walking by, siting by one or even looking at a tree feels good. Whether in a hospital, a front yard or a park, they help calm us down. A major study in the UK followed 10,000 Brits—for 17 years—as they moved around the country. The greener the neighborhood, the happier the people reported they were, no matter how much they made, whether they were married, how healthy they were, or how nice their home was. This comes on top of recent research that says green exercise, or working out outside, is also a significant boost to happiness. Simply getting outside—and moving—for as little as five minutes at a time improved both mood and self-esteem. But trees do even more than that. They can also make you smarter. Marc Berman runs the Environmental Neuroscience Lab, which is interested in how the physical environment affects the brain and behavior. One of his studies sent volunteers on a 50-minute nature walk or a 50-minute city walk. Those who took the nature walk performed about 20 percent better than their counterparts on tests of memory and attention. They also tended to be in a better mood. Trees can you heal you too. In 1984, a researcher named Roger Ulrich noticed something very tree-related among patients recovering from gallbladder surgery in Pennsylvania. Those who had been given rooms overlooking trees were being discharged almost a day sooner, on average, than those in identical rooms that faced a wall…

Fox News, April 9, 2020: Connecticut tree service hangs giant US flag, ‘Thank You’ sign at hospitals during coronavirus fight

It’s a patriotic thank you for health care workers on the front lines of the coronavirus outbreak in Connecticut — a 50-foot American flag, a 38-ton crane and a homemade “THANK YOU” sign mounted on the back of a pickup truck. “The major point here, I love to be able to get this message out in a positive way and let these medical providers know that we appreciate what they’re doing,” Kyle DeLucia, the founder and CEO of K&J Tree Service, told Fox News. “To show our appreciation, it’s so simple, two words on a sign. It’s so impactful.” Maybe not so simple: Raising the 100-foot-tall crane required coordination with both the hospitals and local police, DeLucia said. And there has to be a crane available, which he said he has because the tree service business is slow, but not completely shut down, amid the outbreak. Within the United States, there have been at least 432,596 confirmed cases of the virus and 15,774 deaths as of Thursday afternoon – placing an enormous toll on medical workers battling it on the front lines in hospitals around the country and in Connecticut…

Phys.org, April 9, 2020: Long-living tropical trees play outsized role in carbon storage

A group of trees that grow fast, live long lives and reproduce slowly account for the bulk of the biomass—and carbon storage—in some tropical rainforests, a team of scientists says in a paper published this week in the journal Science. The finding that these trees, called long-lived pioneers, play a much larger role in carbon storage than previously thought may have implications in efforts to preserve forests as a strategy to fight climate change. “People have been arguing about whether these long-lived pioneers contribute much to carbonstorage over the long term,” said Caroline Farrior, an assistant professor of integrative biology at The University of Texas at Austin and a primary investigator on the study. “We were surprised to find that they do.” It is unclear the extent to which tropical rain forests can help soak up excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere produced by burning fossil fuels. Nonetheless, the new study provides insights about the role of different species of trees in carbon storage. Using more than 30 years’ worth of data collected from a tropical rainforest in Panama, the team has uncovered some key traits of trees that, when integrated into computer models related to climate change, will improve the models’ accuracy. With the team’s improved model, the scientists plan to begin answering questions about what drives forest composition over time and what factors affect carbon storage…

Chico, California, Enterprise-Record, April 9, 2020: Tree removal management contract canceled

The state has canceled a contract to manage the removal of hazardous burned trees in the Camp Fire footprint, further delaying a project that’s already been delayed for months. Cal Recycle, the state agency tasked with overseeing tree and debris removal after the Camp Fire, has canceled the $67.5 million contract it intended to award to Tetra Tech, Inc. to manage the removal of hazard trees from private property near public infrastructure. It was supposed to be the first of several state contracts in the project to remove thousands of burned trees that officials and residents said put rebuilding efforts at risk. The work was delayed, though, as local officials struggled to sign up property owners who had dispersed across the country. Cal Recycle first advertised the contract in November, with a planned start date in January. The contract was never finalized. Contracts for the actual tree removal have not yet been posted, either. Chris McSwain, a spokesman for Cal Recycle, said the decision to cancel the contract and start over was because of “operational efficiency and program management to ensure the most effective tree removal service for Camp Fire survivors”…

Spotsylvania, Virginia Steadfast Tree Care, April 7, 2020: Steadfast Tree Care Spotsylvania Warns Of The Dangers Of Amateur Tree Removal

Tree removal is dangerous and really should be completed by professionals. Homeowners who attempt felling a tree on their own may be injured by the tree, faulty equipment, or falling/flying debris. Some of the common dangers of tree removal include: 1. Decaying wood in a dead (or dying) tree often rots from the inside out, making it difficult to detect and unstable. If you think your tree is rotting, hire a professional to remove it before it falls and causes injury or property damage. 2. Improper equipment use when cutting trees causes unnecessary risk. Tree specialists are trained to use safety equipment and professional tools like chainsaws, ropes and cranes. 3. Gravity can be your worst enemy if you’re not proficient in tree removal. Once a tree starts falling, you have little to no control over it. A professional tree contractor will know how and where to fell it with skilled cuts and/or ropes…

Farm and Dairy, April 9, 2020: Don’t top trees, you’re basically killing them

Topping a tree is an all-too-common practice among homeowners, particularly when their trees become too tall and pose a possible threat to the house or overhead power lines. Some have the trees topped because they believe, or are led to believe, that topping is a good pruning practice. Some situations obviously require the removal of large limbs for the sake of safety. But topping is a drastic step that ultimately endangers the tree’s life. Removing such a great quantity of growth in one shot throws off the roots-to-shoots balance that the tree has gradually developed all those years. The much-reduced leaf surface will not be able to manufacture sufficient food reserves to feed the large root system. As roots starve, the rest of the tree will suffer from insufficient moisture and nutrients. Another drawback to topping for many tree species is the stimulation of numerous, upright branches that grow straight up. These shoots are typically very soft, weak growth that breaks easily and is more susceptible to attack by diseases and insects…

Ottawa, Ontario, Citizen, April 4, 2020: Science of spring: Why trees are the last plants to green up

With people stuck at home and worried about their future, there is no better time to remind ourselves of the wonders of spring. The change of season is all around us with many facets of backyard biology, perhaps even things your kids might want to learn. In today’s Science of Spring, Tom Spears looks at nature’s timetable for greening up. Trees often look as though early spring is passing them by as they stand, grey and leafless, while lawns turn green and early flowers bloom. In fact, the tree is busy during this season, especially the deciduous trees that dropped their leaves in the fall. But all their work in April is under cover. Like a car that spent all winter in a snowbank, the tree has a big job coming back to life. Sally Aitken, a researcher and associate dean of forestry at the University of British Columbia, leads us through it. “The thing about being a tree is you’re stuck there all winter in the cold,” she said. “You’ve got a big stem and you’re very exposed to the cold,” unlike little perennial plants that die back above ground and shelter underground. Some of these even have ready-to-use food in bulbs…

Fine Homebuilding, April 8, 2020: Salvaging Trees for Lumber

Back in the late 1970s, my wife and I purchased 25 acres of forested mountain land in Virginia with the intention of homesteading. In the ensuing years, careers developed, the kids grew up, and the homestead never happened—but we kept the land anyway. Call me a tree-hugger, but there was something satisfying about keeping that little piece of Creation wild. Meanwhile, the forest kept on growing. We cut firewood as needed, but had no real desire to harvest timber. The situation changed recently, however, due to a freak storm and an insect blight. The storm knocked down a number of mature hardwoods and the blight, caused by the emerald ash borer, is gradually wiping out an entire species. We had to decide to either salvage the trees or let them rot in the woods. of invasive species, such as the ash borer—a wood-boring beetle… As a builder and woodworker, my instinct was of course to salvage the wood from our doomed trees. That turned out to be more challenging than I realized it would be. There are four distinct issues that need to be addressed in order to convert trees to lumber: logging, milling, drying, and storage…

New Zealand, Newshub, April 4, 2020: Coronavirus: Growers fear millions of fruit will rot on trees

One Hawke’s Bay grower fears 12 million of his apples will rot on the trees because the lockdown has slowed production. The apple and kiwifruit industries are facing growing uncertainty as the COVID-19 crisis shuts down supply chains around the world. Apple trees are overflowing at this time of the year. But for Yummy Fruit manager Paul Paynter it’s a picking season like he’s never seen before. “This is really unique,” he told Newshub. That’s because the nationwide lockdown has come right in the middle of the apple harvest. Usually bustling packhouses are slowing down due to social distancing rules. “[It’s] pretty traumatic, very hard on the staff,” Paynter says. “In an already difficult time of the year they’re already tired and stretched and it’s a whole other level of complexity and pressure but that’s just the game, we’ve got to suck it up…”

Fast Company, April 6, 2020: We need trees to fight pollution in cities—but which trees we use matters a lot

Though having a lot of greenery indoors may not significantly remove pollutants from the air of your home (though the plants do look nice), green infrastructure does have a large impact. Some outdoor vegetation does directly remove pollutants from the air, but even on the scale of an entire city, this effect is pretty negligible. Instead, what greenery can do in a specific area or on a specific street, though, is form a physical barrier between traffic emissions and pedestrians walking around, which does protect from the health effects of air pollution. It’s not that just having trees somewhere in a city helps to make the air less polluted; it’s more about having the right kinds of trees in the right places. Trees that are part of these green barriers do directly capture some pollutants. They also divert and dilute plumes of polluted air, even affecting wind flow depending on how porous or dense the green infrastructure is. In a paper recently published in Climate and Atmospheric Science, two experts from the Global Center for Air Research (GCARE) analyzed scientific literature on what aspects of green infrastructure influence ambient air quality, and put together information about 12 influential traits for 61 tree species to help urban planners and landscape architects pick which trees to plant to be the best barrier against pollutants…

Exeter, UK, University of Exeter, April 6, 2020: Unplanned tree planting could increase global warming and damage the environment, experts warn

No one doubts that trees can help suck carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, out of the atmosphere and help tackle climate change. However, a new report from the Government’s independent advisors, the Natural Capital Committee (NCC), shows that unless the massive expansion of tree planting promised in the run up to the last UK general election is planned with an eye to its wider effects, it could cause problems for the environment, or even result in increased greenhouse gas emissions globally. The report lists a number of ways in which unregulated planting could increase global warming. Boggy peatland soils lock up vast quantities of carbon, but planting trees here can dry these soils out, leading them to emit far more greenhouse gas than will ever be captured by those trees. There is also uncertainty regarding the extent to which planting trees on some types of farmland might cause the UK to increase its imports of meat from countries which farm beef by cutting down rainforests, thereby releasing huge quantities of carbon into the atmosphere. These problems might well arise if tree planting subsidies simply focus on the cheapest land available, such as wetlands or upland farming areas…

Little Rock, Arkansas, Democrat-Gazette, April 7, 2020: Springtime jelly straight from the tree

A highlight of our white bass fishing trip came at the end when Becky Roark surprised us with a jar of her home-made redbud jelly. Redbud trees are pretty to look at, for sure. Their flowers are the main ingredient in Roark’s redbud jelly. We were tickled that she gave Alan Bland and me each a jar to take home. First thing I did after cleaning fish was to pop a slice of wheat bread into the toaster. A little butter and a slather of Roark’s jelly had the toast ready to try. Redbud jelly was all new to me. I’d never heard of such a thing. Friends and neighbors, it is delicious. It’s even better that Roark, of Fayetteville, is happy to share her recipe for redbud jelly with us here today. Here’s the recipe she sent, along with some notes: We usually gather flowers from one or two branches of several trees so we don’t take too much from any one redbud, since they are pollinators for bees. Eastern redbud is an Ozark native and a great replacement for those pesky Bradford pear trees. This springtime jelly recipe will be a family favorite for years to come! We’ve added strawberries to a batch and made strawberry redbud jelly. Yum! You can add lavender, vanilla, and other ingredients, too. We also messed up a batch (didn’t set right) but it turned into some amazing pancake syrup, ha…

Roanoke, Virginia, WDBJ-TV, April 6, 2020: Tree sitters adjust to coronavirus concerns, continue blockade

Opponents of the Mountain Valley Pipeline took social distancing to new heights, when tree sitters blocked the path of the project in Montgomery County, but they aren’t isolated from concern about COVID-19. The tree sitters established their blockade a year and a half ago, and they are still there. We checked in with them recently to see if they have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic, and they provided a video. They say they remain committed to stopping construction of the controversial project. “As I’m sure you all well know, it is so hard to watch the coronavirus sweep across the globe, taking and threatening the lives of so many,” said the unidentified tree sitter…

Courthouse News Service, April 3, 2020: Ninth Circuit Halts Feds’ Tree-Thinning Project Over Its ‘Vague’ Science

The United States Forest Service prematurely authorized a tree-thinning project in Mt. Hood National Forest without assessing its environmental impact, the Ninth Circuit ruled Friday. In 2018, several conservation groups sued the agency over plans to sell timber harvested from about 12,000 acres of public land, including roughly 4,000 acres of old-growth conifers in Mt. Hood National Forest. The Forest Service dubbed it the Crystal Clear Restoration Project, saying the tree-thinning would reduce wildfire risk. But Cascade Wildlands, Bark, and Oregon Wild argued that mature tree removal may not actually help with fire suppression, pointing to articles from The Open Forest Science Journal and Forest Ecology and Management, as well as other expert sources to support their claims. “The plaintiffs, especially Bark, got people out into the landscape and spent thousands of hours collecting information about what was going on in the land and gave that information to the Forest Service,” said attorney Brenna Bell…

Arlington Heights, Illinois, Daily Herald, April 5, 2020: Tree pruning is underway

When pruning large limbs off trees, it is a good idea to make an undercut first. This is a cut from the bottom up, about one-third of the way through the limb, 4 inches or so away from the main trunk. Make the next cut from the top, an inch or so outside of the undercut to remove the limb. The undercut keeps the limb from splitting and breaking off, which could damage the trunk. Do not cut flush to the trunk, but just outside the branch collar at the base of the branch. Look for the point where the branch is enlarged close to the main trunk of the tree. It is generally not recommended to paint the wound; make the cut with a sharp saw at the proper point for best results…

Dayton, Ohio, Daily News, April 5, 2020: Local lumber business helped tornado trees find new life

During this difficult time, it’s easy to forget that last May, Dayton was in the middle of another crisis when several powerful tornadoes left many homeless and many more to deal with property damage and devastation. Barrett Niekamp and his dad, Tony, are owners of Moraine-based Outdoor Living Group. Niekamp had been working on expanding the business when the tornadoes hit last Memorial Day weekend. “My dad started the company in 2003 and historically we have been in the hardscape and water-feature industry,” Niekamp said. “We’ve done a lot of water gardens and we even built the big children’s garden at Wegerzyn Garden Center.” After majoring in entrepreneurship at Sinclair Community College, Niekamp knew he’d follow in his dad’s footsteps in the family business. And he started becoming more involved in the company. “I started the sawmill part of our business mainly to provide income in the winter,” Niekamp said. “It’s been a good move.” It may seem completely contrary to his business model, but Niekamp has developed an enduring respect for trees over the years and salvages nearly everything he processes from locally sourced trees…

Million Acres, April 5, 2020: Tree Removal for Do-It-Yourselfers: Get Referrals and Call a Pro

Paying someone to remove trees from your yard can be expensive, but so is a trip to the emergency room. Chain saws, ladders, gravity. What could go wrong? That said, there is some advice out there for do-it-yourselfers determined to rid their property of a dead, dying, or just, in their eyes, distasteful piece of tall, woody vegetation. First, determine whether the tree is one you can, indeed, remove safely on your own. A piece of advice worth considering, albeit from a company that wants to do it for you, is this: “If the tree is small enough that you could remove it without climbing a ladder, it’s likely OK if you remove it yourself.” That’s according to Davey Tree, an Ohio-based firm that’s been coming between chain saws and do-it-yourselfers since 1880, before there even were chain saws or middle-class suburban homesteads by the millions. A tree that small, of course, can be easily toppled and limbed up for disposal. As for the trunk and stump, here are three steps to consider according to the company…

BBC, April 2, 2020: Conifer is top tree in urban sound absorption test

Scientists say trees have a role to play in combating noise pollution in urban environments and have identified the best species for the job. The larch was found to be the most effective tree when it comes to absorbing noise with its bark. The conifer was the most effective out of 13 tree species in a laboratory-based sound absorption test. The researchers say the findings can help urban planners use trees for noise control. The results have been published in the Applied Acoustics journal. The study assessed 76 samples from 13 tree species that displayed a variety of different bark characteristics. Co-author Jian Kang, from University College London (UCL), said: “Beside emphasising the effects of vision and shade, urban greening should be considered as well to achieve noise reduction during propagation.” He told BBC News: “Using plants as a potential ‘silencer’ of urban noise could combine environmental protection and landscape business.” The samples were selected by using a range of criteria, including bark thickness, tree age and trunk diameter. Disks of the trunks were collected from recently felled trees. “The main goal was to have a sufficient variety of species, including broadleaved and coniferous,” Prof Kang observed…

Davis, California, University of California, April 1, 2020: Almond Orchard Recycling a Climate-Smart Strategy

Recycling trees onsite can sequester carbon, save water and increase crop yields, making it a climate-smart practice for California’s irrigated almond orchards, finds a study from the University of California, Davis. Whole orchard recycling is when old orchard trees are ground, chipped and turned back into the soil before new almond trees are planted. The study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, suggests that whole orchard recycling can help almond orchards be more sustainable and resilient to drought while also increasing carbon storage in the soil. “To me what was really impressive was the water piece,” said corresponding author Amélie Gaudin, an associate professor of agroecology in the UC Davis Department of Plant Sciences. “Water is central to how we think about agriculture in California. This is a clear example of capitalizing on soil health. Here we see some real benefits for water conservation and for growers.” Drought and high almond prices have encouraged higher rates of orchard turnover in recent years. The previous practice of burning trees that are no longer productive is now restricted under air quality regulations, so whole orchard recycling presents an alternative…

Spokane, Washington, Spokesman-Review, April 3, 2020: High demand for apples keeps production workers on the line with new safeguards

In recent weeks, Nadia Manjares has been waking up at 4 a.m. to get ready for a 10-hour shift of packing apples, making sure people all over the country can buy the fruit at their local grocery store. “The work is always heavy, but it’s been heavier because the company received a higher number of orders,” she said. Manjares has been working at Stemilt Growers for 16 years. Two weeks ago, Washington had its largest volume of orders since 2015, shipping about 3.9 million boxes in one week, said Tim Kovis, communications manager for the Washington State Tree Fruit Association. A 40-pound box usually contains about 80 to 88 apples, depending on variety. Although the overall demand for apples from foreign markets went down this week, the domestic demand is still greater than normal, making up for declines from trade disruptions to foreign markets. “But it’s very difficult to know whether or not that (domestic increase) is due to the current COVID-19 issue or our ongoing trade issues that we’re facing,” Kovis said. Packing warehouses have been following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state Department of Health guidelines, ensuring workers wash their hands properly and stay home if they’re not feeling well, Kovis said…

Houston, Texas, Chronicle, April 2, 2020: Time to thin certain fruit on trees

You are probably saying!! “What? My tree needs to be thin?” Well, that is almost the idea. Your stone fruit trees can benefit from a little reduction of production. Reducing the amount of fruit on the tree has more benefits than you think. Your stone fruits are the peaches, apricots, nectarines, cherries and plums. Some fruit shedding occurs naturally as fruit develops on the tree. This is due to lack of pollination, environmental conditions or stress. Granted, if a tree is in perfect health, the main factor that will truly influence fruit production load and quality is chill hour accumulation. There are additional reasons like lack of water, overwatering, improper fertilization, diseases and insect damage. Mother Nature has control! Unfortunately, some of the previously mentioned reasons can be controlled by the keeper of the tree. Moving forward, I will refer to peaches for the examples. Without any intervention, most peach trees set more fruit than can be consumed. So, now onto the hardest part for any gardener! Removing fruit!!! I know, I said it. So why remove fruit? Thinning controls the number of fruit on the tree. The result will be an increase in fruit size and better quality. In addition, it will decrease the cumulative weight of fruit that will impact individual limbs and branches. A massive fruit load can break or crack the limbs and branches. Without going into great detail, thinning reduces the overall stress for the tree during the production season which makes for a healthier tree in the long run. I almost forgot! This thinning process will also help the tree produce with more consistency in the future. This is especially important with most citrus…

Agana, Guam, Stars & Stripes, April 1, 2020: Beetles are wiping out Guam palms, including those at Andersen’s Palm Tree Golf Course

The way things are going, the Air Force may have to come up with a new name for its golf course at the home of the 36th Wing on Guam. The Palm Tree Golf Course, as Andersen’s 18 holes are known, is infested with voracious coconut rhinoceros beetles, Oryctes rhinoceros, whose meals of choice are the coconut palms that the links are named for. Course manager Steven O’Hearne can only watch from his clubhouse — formerly the base officer’s club — as the beetles gnaw their way, one-by-one, through the beautiful palm trees outside. The damage caused by the tenacious insects is visible yards from the clubhouse door where several nearby coconut trees are on their last legs. Stripped of fronds, the diseased trees look a little like telephone poles. The University of Guam College of Natural and Applied Science has a website devoted to waging war on the invasive beetles, which were discovered on the U.S. island territory in 2007…

Wired, April 1, 2020: Why Old-Growth Trees Are Crucial to Fighting Climate Change

Ken Bible steps over a carpet of bracken and vanilla leaf to get closer to the big Douglas fir. He gives its furrowed bark an affectionate slap, as if introducing a prize racehorse. “It’s about 70 meters tall and 2.6 meters in diameter,” Bible says, leaning back to take in the behemoth stretching above him. From way down here on the shady floor of the forest, he has no hope of seeing all the way to the tree’s top. But thanks to a 279-foot-high tower that rises above the trees, Bible, who helps manage this site on behalf of the US Forest Service, has had the chance to know this old Doug from above as well as below. From hundreds of feet up, at canopy level, he says, you begin to get a new vision of the complexity of structure that defines an old forest. “It looks like a mountain range,” Bible says. “You’ve got ridges and peaks and valleys.” Singular trees like the big Doug reach high over their neighbors. At around 500 years of age, it isn’t the oldest tree in the forest, but a lucky location near a wetland has made it one of the biggest. The Doug is lucky in other ways too. Once upon a time, its particular seed happened to fall from a particular drying cone into what, hundreds of years later, would become a small section of protected old growth inside the Wind River Experimental Forest, a research area in southern Washington state originally created to study the best ways to exploit forests for human use…

Ars Technica, April 1, 2020: BBC’s 1957 April Fool’s “spaghetti-tree hoax” is more relevant than ever

We here at Ars do not typically indulge in the online prankery that comes with April Fool’s Day and are even less inclined to do so in the current climate. But it does provide an opportunity to revisit one of the most famous media hoaxes of the 20th century: the so-called “spaghetti-tree hoax,” the result of a two-and-a-half-minute prank segment broadcast on the BBC’s Panorama current-affairs program on April Fool’s Day in 1957. It’s a fun, albeit cautionary, tale of not believing everything you see on television (or read online). The man largely responsible for the hoax was Austrian-born Panorama cameraman Charles de Jaeger, who liked to play practical jokes. As a kid, one of his school teachers used to tell the class, “Boys, you’re so stupid, you’d believe me if I told you that spaghetti grows on trees.” De Jaeger had always wanted to turn this into an April Fool’s prank, and in 1957, he saw his chance. April Fool’s Day fell on a Monday, the same night Panorama aired. He argued that he could do the shoot cheaply while working on another assignment in Switzerland, and Panorama editor Michael Peacock approved a tiny budget of £100 for the project. The sequence was shot at a hotel in Castiglione on the shore of Lake Lugano. De Jaeger bought 20 pounds of uncooked homemade spaghetti and hung the strands from the branches of the laurel trees around the lake to make it seem like they were “spaghetti trees”…

Forbes, April 1, 2020: Turning Olive Tree Branches Into Biofuel For Clean Energy

The road to sustainable farming is not just about saying goodbye to pesticides and chemical fertilizers and going organic. In the olive-oil producing region of Puglia in Southern Italy, olive farmers are converting agricultural waste into a source of clean energy. Branches cut down during the olive harvest are collected from farms surrounding the small town of Calimera and turned into wood chippings. The chippings are used as a biofuels that feed the boiler of a local power plant. But unlike other biomass power plants, this system does not use the hot water from the boiler to drive a steam turbine. Instead, the water passes through a heat exchanger, which contains a separate fluid with a lower boiling point than water, operating in a closed loop. The resulting vapor drives an Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) turbine, rotating at a relatively slow RPM. This system can generate power from lower temperatures, making it more energy efficient…

Futurity, March 31, 2020: How Dead Trees Help Forests Tolerate Drought

As the climate changes, forests have figured out a way to adapt to drought, a new study shows. Researchers used the US Forest Service Forest Inventory and Analysis database to study how the traits of tree communities have shifted across the contiguous United States. The results indicate that communities, particularly in more arid regions, have become more drought tolerant, primarily through the death of less hardy trees. To understand what might drive changes in forests’ ability to cope with climate change, the researchers considered two main physiological traits: a species’ average tolerance to water stress and how close this was to its maximum tolerance (essentially how much wiggle room it had when dealing with water stress). “We basically put a number on what species composition means in terms of their ability to deal with water stress,” says Anna Trugman, an assistant professor in the geography department at the University of California, Santa Barbara and lead author of the paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Fortunately for the team, the US Department of Agriculture tracks tree species, size, and abundance in more than 160,000 forest plots randomly distributed across the country. What’s more, the US Forest Service Forest Inventory and Analysis database includes over 200 different types of ecosystems including dry pinyon pine forests, cypress swamps, Atlantic hardwood forests, and the temperate rainforests of the Pacific Northwest…

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, March 31, 2020: Bioprospecting for Industrial Enzymes and Drug Compounds in an Ancient Submarine Forest

Nearly 60,000 years ago, a bald cypress forest flourished on the banks of a prehistoric river near the Gulf of Mexico. Over time, the massive trees grew and died, their enormous trunks falling and becoming entombed in a protective covering of peat and sediment. As sea level rose and the coastline receded, these ancient forest remains were buried beneath the sea surface off the coast of Alabama, where they remained undisturbed for millennia. Intensifying storms along the coast, however, have scoured the seafloor, beginning to expose this ancient submarine forest. Now, a team of scientists from Northeastern University and the University of Utah, funded by the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research (OER), are working to unlock the forest’s secrets, including its potential to harbor new compounds for medicine and biotechnology. As demand grows for discovery of novel industrial enzymes and new medicines, researchers are increasingly looking towards the ocean. Marine animals and their symbiotic microorganisms that live on and in wood have recently been shown to be a potentially rich source for biomolecules of high biopharmaceutical and biotechnological value. To this end, this research team is exploring the biodiversity and economic potential of the submerged forest off the Alabama coast, which provides an unusually large, biodiverse, and temporally stable wood-associated marine habitat for them to study. The team’s focus is on bacteria found in wood-eating “shipworms,” a type of clam (teredinid bivalve). These “termites of the sea” convert wood into animal tissue, forming the base of a food chain that can support a rich diversity of fish, invertebrates, and microorganisms in communities that resemble thriving coral reefs…

Yahoo UK, April 1, 2020: Strange tree ‘crop circles’ are being spotted in Japan

Strange ‘crop circles’ made of cedar trees are being spotted in Japan. While many often attribute such formations to aliens, Japan’s ministry of agriculture, forestry and fisheries is certain these are made by humans. So how exactly did the strange phenomenon happen…

Palm Springs, California, Desert Sun, March 31, 2020: ‘Like a black hole’: Desert Hot Springs man reports beehive in nearby tree

A Desert Hot Springs man expressed concern Tuesday regarding a large beehive he found near his home. The hive is located near Mountain View Road. Richard Emmons, a 70-year-old veteran, said he’d suffered a bee sting near his eye. He added that the hive is “like a black hole in the tree.” He said he wants the bees removed, but has had trouble finding someone to get rid of them. He said he believes the hive poses a threat to those who come into close contact, especially children and seniors. Desert Hot Springs spokeswoman Doria Wilms said the city is going to look into removing the hive or helping Emmons find a group that can remove the hive…

Motley Fool, March 30, 2020: What to Do if Your Neighbor’s Tree Is Impacting Your Property

Trees are a lovely thing — until they become intrusive or hazardous. If you have a dead tree on your property, cutting it down could be a smart move. That way, you don’t run the risk of it falling and wrecking your property, or worse yet, hurting someone. But what if your neighbor has a tree that’s impacting your property — say, a dead one that could fall and shatter your fence at any time, or a thriving one that perpetually scatters leaves and debris into your yard? What can you do? You can’t march into your neighbor’s yard and cut down a tree that isn’t yours. But what you can do is express concern that his or her tree is at risk of damaging your property the next time a big storm rolls around. Your neighbor may agree to take it down. Or, if you’re really worried, you can offer to split the cost of removing that tree with your neighbor. Though you may not want to go that route, as the tree is technically not your responsibility, sharing in that cost could spare you a world of hassle. If your neighbor refuses to budge and insists on leaving the tree in place, express your concerns in writing via email or a certified letter. That way, if that tree does damage your property, you can prove that your neighbor may have been negligent by not taking it down. Now if the tree in question isn’t dangerous, but just needs a major trimming to avoid hanging into your yard or scattering leaves everywhere, that’s a slightly different conversation. In that case, you might ask permission to just do the work yourself, if you’re willing…

London, UK, Independent, March 31, 2020: Coronavirus: Gardening Industry At ‘Crisis Point’ As Millions Of Plants And Trees To Be Thrown Away

The horticultural industry is at “crisis” point, a trade body has warned, as the coronavirus pandemic forces the closure of garden centres across the UK. Growers – many of them family businesses – could be forced to bin millions of pounds worth of plants and trees because they have no buyers for their products, The Horticultural Trades Association said (HTA). It called on the government to step in and provide financial assistance of up to £250 million to help the industry avoid imminent collapse. The HTA said around 650 businesses across the UK produce ornamental crops, contributing £1.4 billion to the economy each year. It added that the sector employs more than 15,000 people directly and almost 30,000 indirectly. Sales have plunged since Mother’s Day – one of the busiest periods for the sector – when people had already begun to self-isolate, the trade body added. The coronavirus lockdown means it is unlikely that sales will see a resurgence over the Easter and May bank holidays…

Russia Beyond, March 16, 2020: Why are Russians so crazy about birch trees?

While traveling for a long time abroad, a Russian often misses his “native birches”. To hold a birch tree tight and cry… that’s the only thing a Russian wants to do in a melancholic mood. Why, you ask? It’s all because of the ancient Slavs. As the birch tree was one of the most widespread trees across Central Russia, it was considered as a tree of “Russian nationality”. Ancient Slavs didn’t come across the massive Siberian fir forests until the 16th century expansion to Siberia – and a fir tree is actually not so easy to hug! Sometimes even modern Russians are surprised that birches not only grow in Russia. How is it possible? Our birches!? According to multiple folk proverbs and beliefs (described in Alexander Strizhev’s ‘Calendar of Russian Nature’ book), ancient pagan Slavs considered hugging a birch tree as a sign of good luck – it would also give you power and joy. Moreover, a birch tree was considered magical…

Phys.org, March 31, 2020: Researchers investigate how forests are changing in response to global warming

As the climate is changing, so too are the world’s forests. From the misty redwoods in the west to the Blue Ridge forest of Appalachia, many sylvan ecosystems are adapting to drier conditions. Using the U.S. Forest Service Forest Inventory and Analysis database, researchers at UC Santa Barbara, the University of Utah and the U.S. Forest Service have studied how the traits of tree communities are shifting across the contiguous United States. The results, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, indicate that communities, particularly in more arid regions, are becoming more drought tolerant, primarily through the death of less hardy trees. To understand what might be driving changes in the ability of forests to cope with climate change, the scientists considered two main physiological traits: a species’ average tolerance to water stress and how close this was to its maximum tolerance (essentially how much wiggle room it had when dealing with water stress)…

Albany, New York, Times-Union, March 27, 2020: Costco site in Guilderland is suddenly devoid of trees

In a development that opponents of the project say was carried out with astonishing speed, work crews hired by Crossgates Mall owner Pyramid Management on Thursday removed most of the trees on the site of a planned Costco store and gas station. The work came to an abrupt halt Thursday afternoon when Guilderland Supervisor Peter Barber sent the local Pyramid affiliate, Releaseco LLC, a cease and desist order. Because the site is being reviewed under New York’s State Environmental Quality Review or SEQR program, it wasn’t supposed to be disturbed until the review is completed. “It was a big wooded lot that is no longer a big wooded lot,” said Steve Wickham, a local opponent of the development. “It was almost entirely clear cut.” Pyramid officials did not respond to an email on Friday. A phone message at their Syracuse headquarters noted that the staff are working remotely. The cutting, which observers said was done with chain saws and bulldozer-sized tree removal machines. The lot wasn’t supposed to be disturbed while under SEQR review. But a notice announcing the tree cutting on Guilderland’s planning office website explained that state and federal wildlife law largely prevents cutting trees between April 1 and Oct. 31 in areas where Northern long-eared bats are present. The bats hibernate in caves during winter, but emerge in spring and take up residence in this area, among other spots. Tree cutting would disturb them…

Boston, Massachusetts, Glove, March 29, 2020: Maine officials investigate report of tree being cut down to quarantine out-of-towners

Authorities in Maine are investigating a report that several people with guns had cut down a tree on the island of Vinalhaven to block a road so that some people would be quarantined in their home. The Knox County Sheriff’s Office posted on its Facebook page that when law enforcement arrived, they found the felled tree and said it had been dragged into the road to block it. They said deputies learned that some island residents believe the people staying in the home are supposed to be quarantined because they came from out of state. The sheriff’s office said the trio had been staying on Vinalhaven for about 30 days and none have symptoms consistent with COVID-19. Maine reported two more deaths from the virus on Sunday, bringing to total to three. One of the two who died was a man in his 60s from Cumberland County who was a long-time employee of the Maine Department of Transportation, Gov. Janet Mills said. Meanwhile, in Vermont, State Police there are visiting hotels and motels to make sure that they are closed under Vermont Governor Phil Scott’s order to slow the spread of the virus, police said Sunday…

Baltimore, Maryland, Sun, March 28, 2020: Coronavirus pandemic delays tree-cutting incident in Annapolis tied to Hogan Cos.

Anne Arundel County has cited the owner of a property on Bestgate Road with grading without a permit after 14 trees were cut down without a permit but has yet to pursue the incident under its new, tougher forest conservation law. The County Council had, despite argument over other aspects of bill 68-19, agreed that the cost for clearing in violation of the forest conservation law should increase from 80 cents per square foot to $4.50 per square foot to deter cutting. County Council President Alison Pickard said the intent was for that figure to be applied as a fine or penalty. If that $4.50 was assessed for the 16,351 square feet developers have been cited with clearing off Bestgate Road, it would amount to a fine of $73,579.50, Environmental Policy Director Matt Johnston said. But Johnston said the county are still awaiting guidance from the Office of Law on how the Department of Inspections and Permits, Office of Planning and Zoning, and the Office of Law can enforce violations. As the coronavirus pandemic has worsened, and more cases have been announced in the state and county, non-essential matters have been put aside. The guidance is still being drafted and reviewed, Johnston said, as the office of law is focusing on “confronting and stopping the spread of the virus…”

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, KDKA-TV, March 29, 2020: Mother And Daughter Taken To Hospital After Tree Falls On Them

A mother and her 3-year-old daughter are injured after a tree fell on them in Cascade Park in New Castle. Diana Palumbo suffered a series of fractures and a punctured lung. Her daughter suffered a fractured skull. The incident happened Sunday afternoon in between the park pavilions and the creek. They were taken to Shenango Fire Hall. From there, choppers took them to two separate hospitals. The mother was taken to a Youngstown Hospital while the daughter was flown to UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. They were taken to the hospital in critical condition but both are now in stable condition. According to the grandfather, they are hopeful for a full recovery. “You feel dread and shock,” said Gerald Anastasia. “You see the tree. It snapped 30 feet from the base, so it was a hard hit. My daughter has a series of fractures, a punctured lung, and the little granddaughter has a fractured skull. They’re stable right now and so we hope in a matter of time that they’re going to have a full recovery…”

Chicago, Illinois, Sun Times, March 25, 2020: Residential street sweeping, tree trimming and tree removal could end until Chicago wins coronavirus war

Tree trimming and removal, along with street sweeping, may be suspended until the city wins the war on the coronavirus — or at least turns the corner, a top mayoral aide said Wednesday. The Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation could be forced to halt those key housekeeping services, which aldermen and their constituents hold dear, said Streets and Sanitation Commissioner John Tully. He plans to discuss the potential cutbacks with all 50 aldermen during a conference call on Friday. He plans to tell the aldermen what he told the Sun-Times on Wednesday: that it’s virtually impossible to continue street sweeping and tree trimming when people are cooped up in their homes, some afraid to leave, and the city has issued orders to suspend ticketing, towing and booting of illegally parked vehicles except when it impacts public safety. “When we street sweep, we post the street and say, `You need to not park on this side of the street. You need to have your car not there.’ Well, we’re not really towing unless there’s emergencies right now,” Tully said…

Eureka Alert, March 25, 2020: New framework will help decide which trees are best in the fight against air pollution

A study from the University of Surrey has provided a comprehensive guide on which tree species are best for combatting air pollution that originates from our roads – along with suggestions for how to plant these green barriers to get the best results. In a paper published in npj Climate and Atmospheric Science, air pollution experts from Surrey’s Global Centre for Clean Air Research (GCARE) conducted a wide-ranging literature review of research on the effects of green infrastructure (trees and hedges) on air pollution. The review found that there is ample evidence of green infrastructure’s ability to divert and dilute pollutant plumes or reduce outdoor concentrations of pollutants by direct capture, where some pollutants are deposited on plant surfaces. As part of their critical review, the authors identified a gap in information to help people – including urban planners, landscape architects and garden designers – make informed decisions on which species of vegetation to use and, crucially, what factors to consider when designing a green barrier…

St. Louis, Missouri, Post-Dispatch, March 25, 2020: Got time to dig a hole? Forest ReLeaf of Missouri offers a drive-thru tree pickup service

If you have enough time to dig a hole in your backyard during your self-quarantine, Forest ReLeaf of Missouri is offering take-out service for trees. Buy your tree online, and then come to your scheduled drive-thru time at CommuniTree Gardens Nursery in Creve Coeur Park on March 31 and April 7 from 9-11 a.m. or 2-4 p.m. The Tree Take-Out Tuesdays is one way for residents to continue planting trees while practicing healthy social distancing. The nonprofit offers a variety of Missouri native species trees and shrubs, and a portion of the proceeds goes back to its programs. “Tree Take-Out gives people an outlet for positive action during this time of uncertainty,” Meridith Perkins, the group’s executive director, said in a statement. “It encourages everyone to experience the restorative value of nature while creating a beautiful, healthy habitat for you, your neighbors, and the natural community…”

AlphaGalileo, March 26, 2020: Under Extreme Heat and Drought, Trees Hardly Benefit from an Increased CO2 Level

Due to greenhouse gas-induced climate change, trees are increasingly exposed to extreme drought and heat. The question of how the increased CO2 concentration in the atmosphere influences physiological reaction of the trees under climate stress, however, is highly controversial. Carbon dioxide is known to be the main nutrient of plants. By photosynthesis, plants use sunlight to convert CO2 and water into carbohydrates and biomass. Periods of drought and heat, however, increase the stress level of the trees. Their roots have difficulties reaching the water. To reduce evaporation losses, trees close the stomata of their leaves, as a result of which they take up less CO2 from the air.These relationships have now been studied in more detail by the Plant Ecophysiology Lab of the Atmospheric Environmental Research Division of KIT’s Institute of Meteorology and Climate Research (IMK-IFU), KIT’s Campus Alpine in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Together with scientists of Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, the University of Vienna, and Weizmann Institute of Science in Rechovot/Israel, KIT researchers studied the impact of an increased CO2 concentration on carbon metabolism and water use efficiency of Aleppo pines (pinus halepensis) under drought and heat…

Reading, Pennsylvania, Eagle, March 24, 2020: Red maples of Berks are early pollinators

I’ve been watching red maple flowers every spring for a few years now and photographing them. The pictures help because I am poor at keeping a journal. I realized I had never learned about how such an early blooming tree gets pollinated, or about what their flowers are like. But now I have read some research papers and looked at my pictures and I want to share with you a little bit about this rabbit hole I’ve gone down. In general, there are four basic ways flowering plants and conifers go about arranging their “genders” for each individual in a species. First and most common are plants bearing co-sexual flowers; that is, each flower has functional male and female parts. The female pistil contains the ovaries, which become seeds after they are fertilized. The male stamens have pollen-producing sacs at their ends…

Good Fruit Grower, March 24, 2020: Use ethephon early to help young trees grow strong

For decades, tart cherry growers have used the plant growth regulator ethephon to loosen cherry stems just before harvest, making the cherries more likely to drop when a mechanical shaker shakes the tree. But growers might have a use for ethephon earlier in the season, too: keeping fruit off trees that are too young for the shaker. “Tart cherry trees need to be physically big enough to shake them with our current harvest technology,” said Nikki Rothwell, a Michigan State University Extension educator and coordinator of the Northwest Michigan Horticulture Research Center. “Therefore, at the time of planting until years five, six or seven, we want those trees to get as big as they can as fast as they can. Putting fruit on the tree slows their growth and delays their harvest potential.” In addition, fruit on young trees can attract spotted wing drosophila — not just to the young blocks but to the blocks surrounding them — forcing growers to spray trees they can’t yet harvest, Rothwell said. Since the tart cherry industry sometimes needs to shrink its crop size for marketing purposes, it’s better for growers to drop fruit during bloom — before they end up with fields of ripe, rotting cherries that also can become SWD reservoirs, said Todd Einhorn, an MSU associate professor and tree fruit physiologist…

Geeky Gadgets, March 24, 2020: Tree ring record player transforms the tree’s growth into music

A unique record player has been created that is capable of transforming visual data in the form of the rings of the tree into sound. A tree’s year rings are analysed for their strength, thickness and rate of growth. This data serves as basis for a generative process that outputs piano music. The sculpture has been created “duly referencing an iconic analog medium as the bridge between the two worlds…” “Bartholomäus Traubeck’s Years is one of those designs that embodies much more than its one-line description might suggest: simply put, it’s “a record player that plays slices of wood, [in which] year ring data is translated into music.” A tree’s year rings are analysed for their strength, thickness and rate of growth. This data serves as basis for a generative process that outputs piano music. It is mapped to a scale which is again defined by the overall appearance of the wood (ranging from dark to light and from strong texture to light texture). The foundation for the music is certainly found in the defined ruleset of programming and hardware setup, but the data acquired from every tree interprets this ruleset very differently…”

Spokane, Washington, Spokesman-Review, March 24, 2020: Brett Haverstick: Nez Perce-Clearwater Forest plan has no accountability

The Forest Service is accepting public comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the forest plan revision on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests. The comment deadline is April 20. The National Forest Management Act (1976) mandates all national forests to have a resource management plan or forest plan. Forest plans dictate the management direction of a particular forest. The new, single plan for the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests will potentially guide management for the next few decades. The Clearwater Basin of north-central Idaho is the northern half of the Big Wild, which is the largest undeveloped watershed complex left in the Lower 48. It is also the southern boundary of the largest known inland temperate rainforest in the world. “Wetbelt” forests contain numerous coastal disjunct species, including western red cedar, Pacific dogwood and others. These vascular plants are similar to those found along the coastal temperate forests of Oregon, Washington and other parts north. The Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests are home to many rare and imperiled species like bull trout, salmon, steelhead, wolverines, Canada lynx, fisher and grizzly bears. A World Wildlife Fund study (2001) identified the Clearwater Basin as having the best habitat for large carnivores, including grizzlies, in the entire U.S. Northern Rockies and Southern Canadian Rockies. Last summer, the Fish & Wildlife Service confirmed that multiple grizzly bears were in the Clearwater. The Forest Service is, unfortunately, seeking to exponentially increase logging on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests in the new plan. The agency sells 50 to 60 million board feet annually from these forests combined. The revision, however, offers four management alternatives that exceed current levels. Two of the alternatives propose levels over 200 million board feet per year…

New York City, The Wall Street Journal, March 23, 2020: PG&E to Plead Guilty to Involuntary Manslaughter Charges in Deadly California Wildfire

PG&E Corp. PCG 12.47% said it would accept criminal responsibility for starting the deadliest wildfire in California’s history, becoming one of a small number of U.S. corporations to plead guilty to felony charges of involuntary manslaughter. The indictment by a grand jury and PG&E’s decision to plead guilty put to rest significant questions about the extent of the company’s culpability in starting the Camp Fire in 2018. PG&E, a utility that supplies electricity and natural gas to 16 million people, or about one in 20 Americans, admitted that its failure to maintain its equipment was criminally negligent and caused the deaths of more than 80 people. However, the indictment doesn’t charge any PG&E employees or executives. Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey, who led the investigation, said evidence showed that the company’s maintenance problems resulted from decisions made by many people over many years, and he decided not to charge any single person. On Monday morning, the San Francisco utility disclosed that it would plead guilty to an indictment in Butte County, where 85 people died during the Camp Fire. The indictment charges the company with 84 counts of manslaughter and one count of unlawfully causing a fire. The company has agreed to pay a $3.48 million penalty, the statutory maximum…

US News, March 22, 2020: SW Indiana Man Aims to Save Remains of Large Cypress Tree

Ron Clark of Bicknell hopes to preserve the last large cypress tree in what was once the Little Cypress Swamp. In a southwest corner of Knox County, known to some as Hell’s Neck, rests the remaining acres of Little Cypress Swamp, and it’s Ron Clark’s mission to help preserve the swamp’s largest bald cypress that was once part of 25,000 acres of the mammoth trees. The tree, likely over 1,000 years old — with some estimates closer to 2,000 years — was once the oldest living thing in Indiana. Though it hasn’t been alive and thriving for some time, Clark hopes to gain enough interest and support for the iconic tree to preserve its remains by uprooting and moving it to a newly constructed, weatherproof shelter. “There’s only one like this, and it’s maybe been there for 2,000 years … that goes back to the time of Jesus,” the Bicknell man said of the tree’s significance. The large cypress has a circumference of more than 45 feet and a hollowed out space large enough to shelter several people within it. Little Cypress Swamp is near the confluence of the White and Wabash rivers and is an ecological rarity. The remaining acreage of bald cypress trees in that pocket of Knox County is possibly the northernmost point in the United States where the trees have grown wild, thriving in the sandy soil and regularly flooded grounds…

New York City, Daily News, March 23, 2020: D.C. mayor brings National Guard to keep crowds from city’s cherry blossom trees amid coronavirus fears

So many people flocked to the nation’s capital to see its signature cherry blossom trees reach peak bloom over the weekend that authorities have called on the National Guard to help control the crowds — and prevent further coronavirus transmissions. Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser on Sunday ordered the Metropolitan Police Department to work with the National Guard to enforce a restricted access zone around the tree-lined Tidal Basin to ensure social distancing. Pedestrian and bicycle traffic will also be restricted at the National Mall and Jefferson Memorial. Despite repeated warnings to avoid large gatherings, hundreds of people were seen walking almost should-to-shoulder to get a close look or snap a selfie at the stunning site. The National Parks Service said the crowds were making it “increasingly difficult” to ensure “effective social distancing.” “We strongly urge anyone considering a visit to see the cherry blossoms to reconsider and to help prevent the spread of infectious diseases,” the agency said in a statement Saturday…

Chicago, Illinois, Tribune, March 20, 2020: Farm’s towering grapefruit tree has 75-year history

After opening the large rolling door one night recently to park my car into the heated pole barn at the farm, I detected a strong sweet smell, which I thought might be from a new varnish my dad was using for one of his woodworking projects. After turning on the lights and further examination, I traced the scent to the 10-foot tall grapefruit tree that spends winters inside the 54-degree building, along with assorted ferns, geraniums and our other delicate outdoor plants. To my surprise, the branches of the tree were, and are still currently, bursting with clusters of white blossoms, all of them exceptionally fragrant, much like a gardenia. When my dad’s sisters — my Auntie Loretta with Uncle Ed and Auntie Lottie with Uncle Swede — retired from their homes in the Midwest to move near the Tampa and Sarasota areas of Florida more than two decades ago, one of their new landscape highlights were the orange and grapefruit trees in their yards. But the grapefruit tree that has resided at our family farm for the past several years has its own unique story…

Washington, D.C. Townhall, March 20, 2020: No Cherry Blossom Walks: DC Metro Shuts Down Access to Iconic Trees

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, which operates city buses and the Metrorail, announced on Friday that they would be shutting down service to stops with access to the popular blossoming Japanese cherry trees that line the Tidal Basin. “Metro today announced the closures of Smithsonian and Arlington Cemetery stations, effective 5 p.m. today, to discourage the use of Metrorail for recreational visits to view the Cherry Blossoms around the Tidal Basin. Metro is open for ESSENTIAL TRIPS ONLY to maintain regional mobility for hospital staff, government officials, and emergency responders. The two stations will remain closed until further notice,” said the WMATA in a brief statement. While many residents of Washington, D.C. observe protocols related to self-isolation and social distancing, outdoor space has remained an accessible comfort for those needing some fresh air. The early spring blooming of the cherry trees against the backdrop of the Jefferson Memorial has been an iconic part of D.C. life since they were gifted to the city in 1912 by Tokyo Mayor Yukio Ozaki. Currently, more than 3,700 of the pink blossom producing trees line the Tidal Basin, visible from multiple points in D.C. and from Virginia…

Agana, Guam, Pacific News Daily, March 23, 2020: ‘Coconut trees are coming back’; UOG official says overall tree population is recovering

Guam won’t lose its coconut trees to the invasive coconut rhinoceros beetle, said Roland Quitugua, a University of Guam extension agent who has been fighting the insect for years.The beetle first was discovered on Guam in 2007, in Tumon Bay. It has since spread islandwide. Adult beetles kill palms when they bore into the crowns to feed on sap. “People ask me how many trees we lost, and I can’t tell you that,” Quitugua said, adding some residents reported losing all of their coconut trees and therefore believe Guam is losing the beetle battle. “But my job is to take a couple of steps back and look at the island in its totality. I can tell you now the coconut trees are coming back. I can take you around the island and I can show you beautiful coconut trees.” He said typhoons generate green waste, which causes a temporary spike in the beetle population because there are more breeding sites for the beetles…

Roanoke, Virginia, Times, March 21, 2020: ‘Liquid gold’ from walnut trees brings new attention to Highland County

Christoph Herby stands inside his 96-square-foot sugar shed and watches the sap hauled from his black walnut trees boil. Steam rises from the evaporator and the air smells of buttered popcorn. “That’s our liquid gold,” he says, noting the intense labor that goes into making walnut syrup. Tonoloway Farm, a first-generation syrup operation run by Christoph and Lauren Herby in Highland County, is believed to be the only commercial producer of walnut syrup in Virginia. But that could change. Researchers in Virginia and West Virginia hope to expand the industry, making the states leaders in the lesser-known but highly sought-after walnut syrup. Highland County is well-known for its maple syrup. Its annual maple festival — initially scheduled for this month, but postponed amid concerns about the novel coronavirus — draws thousands to the sugar camps that dot the bucolic landscape. Like maple syrup, walnut syrup is made by tapping trees for sap and boiling it. But walnut syrup is more difficult to make. Sap from black walnut trees contains pectin, a gelatinous substance used for setting jams and jellies, which complicates the filtering process. Additionally, Herby said the sap yield is significantly lower in the black walnut trees on their property, a trickle compared to sugar maple trees. The couple tapped both types of trees this year — 640 maples and 420 walnuts. Herby said they expect to produce more than 100 gallons of maple syrup compared to 10 gallons of walnut syrup…

Abilene, Texas, Reporter News, March 22, 2020: Bruce Kreitler: The world was built on trees

With the spate of continuing education classes that I have been going through lately, I’ve had plenty of opportunities (partly because they’ve been pointed out to me with the phrase “this will be on the test”), to think about trees and some of the benefits they provide. Or have provided, if that doesn’t immediately pop into people’s minds. But being me, once my attention is drawn to something, I like to go a little further, especially into the history aspect of whatever might be under consideration. There have been all kinds of studies concerning “unseen” benefits of trees. Sure, that big tree in someone’s yard makes their house cooler and more attractive, but I think it’s reasonable to say there’s nothing hidden about those particular benefits. I think the average person could drive past a nice large tree, at 70 or 80 mph, and be able to see what an attractive asset it is. No rocket science needed there. On the other hand, there are a lot of good things that trees do for us that aren’t quite as obvious…

Mill Valley, California, Marin Independent Journal, March 19, 2020: Mill Valley makes strong case to remove beloved trees

Look around Mill Valley. It would be hard to make a case that the city doesn’t care about trees. For many years, the city has had a law on its books protecting heritage and native trees, but it appears those definitions are in the eye of the beholder. At issue, are five trees that have grown to 50 feet in height that stand at the busy corner of East Blithedale Avenue and Camino Alto. The trees, acacias and eucalyptus, were planted along Camino Alto as landscaping for the restaurant that was built at the corner. The restaurant’s new owner sought the city’s permission to cut them down and replace them with 11 maple trees. The city planning department tested the plan with the city’s tree ordinance and found that acacia and eucalyptus are not on the city’s list of trees it wants to preserve, staff says. A report from an arborist said those species are considered a fire risk, have shallow roots that could cause damage and, if not maintained, could drop limbs onto the road. The city Planning Commission agreed and voted 4-1 to give the property owner the green light to cut down the trees and replace them with trees that are a better complement for the location. Planning Commissioner Kevin Skiles stressed that today’s design standards would never allow the planting of eucalyptus trees at that location…

Anchorage, Alaska, Daily News, March 19, 2020: A meeting about dying Southcentral trees drew a packed house last month. That discussion is only beginning

Unfortunately, there was not enough room to accommodate the huge crowd that came to the Energy Center last month for the discussion about what to do about tree loss hereabouts. Despite the worst job done by our governments in not clearing the roads of a snowfall from several days earlier, there were still so many people that the fire dude had to turn some of them away. So here is a report for those who couldn’t attend, were turned away or tried but had to turn back. First, Pat Ryan did a fantastic job organizing a veritable “who’s who” and “who should be there” panel. There were forestry-related and pest management folks from the municipality, state and federal governments. They addressed questions alongside with representatives from the landscape industry, commercial tree industry and the Anchorage Fire Department. There was a lot of information in the two hours of questions and answers, as you can imagine. I won’t summarize here because on May 16 — virus allowing — the State Association of Foresters will have its annual tree distribution/Arbor Day event at REI. They should plan on huge crowds — if we’re allowed to assemble by then… I’ve heard talk of another forum in a larger venue when it is safe to gather again. This one will be specific to beetles and spruce. We have to get a handle on the dead trees and save as many of the healthy ones as we can before we tackle anything else…

Salem, Oregon, Capital Press, March 19, 2020: Disaster aid available for hazelnut, winegrape growers

Millions of dollars of disaster aid is now available to Oregon hazelnut growers who suffered crop losses in February 2019 as a result of severe snowstorms that damaged up to 12% of mature orchards in the southern Willamette Valley. Congress approved a $19.1 billion relief package in the wake of multiple natural disasters across the country, including hurricanes Michael, Florence and Dorian, as well as major floods, tornadoes, heavy snow and wildfires. Part of the spending bill set aside $4.5 billion for agriculture, timber and watershed recovery to assist farmers and ranchers. The emergency fund — named the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program-Plus, abbreviated as WHIP+ — contains $11 million for Oregon hazelnuts. The USDA Farm Service Agency announced March 16 it has established payment rates for hazelnuts through the program, and is accepting applications from eligible producers. Kent Willett, farm program specialist for the FSA in Portland, said the program is unique in that it provides some compensation for damaged trees in addition to a percentage of the crop value. Payments are limited to $125,000 per farm. “We’re just now trying to get that out to the public,” Willett said. Nearly all U.S. commercial hazelnuts are grown in Oregon. A report by Pacific Agricultural Survey estimated 3,332 acres of mature hazelnut trees in Lane and Douglas counties were at risk of winter storm damage in 2019, out of 27,603 total mature acres…

San Jose, California, Mercury-News, March 19, 2020: Trees or no trees? Privacy or no privacy? Is this Johnny Appleseed agent trying to help our profits grow?

We are planning to sell our home. One of the real estate agents we have spoken with about becoming our seller’s agent is promoting the planting of trees to help mask neighboring two-story homes. The property to our back left has a satellite dish attached to their second-story roof. Similarly, to our east, two doors down, is another satellite dish prominently affixed to a second-story roof. The three two-story homes built across the street are a recent addition to the neighborhood. It was very competitive when we bought our house, and our buyer’s agent at the time never mentioned that the two-story homes and their second-level windows would hurt resale. If she had done so, we would have planted trees 20 years ago. This real estate agent is suggesting we plant a variety of 6-, 7- and 8-foot “teenage” trees to enhance our front, back, and side yards, which will “offset the fishbowl issue, beautify the property and increase value…”

Manchester, New Hampshire, Union Leader, March 18, 2020: M ac’s Maple has grown from just a couple thousand to 30,000 taps

As a kid, Liz McNamara of Mac’s Maple remembers tapping sap from maples on her family’s farm, then using it to boil hot dogs and eggs for a sweet treat. “It becomes a sweet hardboiled egg; same with your hot dogs. You can boil them right in the sap,” she said. Since tree sap is between 95 and 99 percent water, boiling it releases steam, leaving concentrated sugar syrup behind, she said. Back then, Mac’s Maple sugaring business was strictly a family affair. “Mostly, well, we tapped all in buckets that we collected. My grandfather would drive us around so we could collect in the back of his truck. We boiled on a single pan. When we were little, on a small scale, when we weren’t making syrup for anybody else, we could (do that.) “We’ve been farming since my grandparents have lived on the farm, since 1950,” she added. Mac’s Maple collects much more sap now, and their maple syrup production continues to grow. “It’s a bigger-scaled operation. We still have a very good time with it. We have an actual sugarhouse — no more eggs and hot dogs in the sap,” she said. McNamara said her family, which owns Mac’s Maple in Plainfield, has been producing maple products since about 2010, when they started with just a couple thousand taps. Today, the farm is handling about 30,000 taps. According to the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension website, all native maples can be tapped. Unsurprisingly, the sap from sugar maples contains the greatest amount of the sweet stuff – about 2 percent is sugar. Still, the process takes a lot of effort. It requires about 40 gallons of sap to produce one gallon of syrup, so maple sugars, maple cotton candy and maple cream don’t come without hard work…

Omaha, Nebraska, WOWT-TV, March 18, 2020: Dangerous tree gets removed after investigation

For several years serious injury or worse hung over neighbors Anthony Cato and Daryl Johnson. Daryl Johnson said,” Most definitely if it came down on my kitchen and I’m back there, I’m sure I would get crushed.” In the yard of a rental house next door stood a dead tree. Falling branches have damaged both neighbors’ garages. Anthony Cato said, “60 miles an hour wind the next time, all three houses might get taken out.” A legitimate fear if you look at Daryl’s garage and his partially damaged porch. A dangerous tree has caused damage to the neighbor’s property for years but after a call from Six on Your Side that tree came down. The Brothers Tree Service crew might have said, “Oh, brother!” as they spent two days cutting down the dead ash. The foreman said, “45 inches wide and 75-foot height.” As huge trunks from the neighboring tree are removed, Daryl is thankful. “It was what I needed these last few years to make something happen,” he said. Over the year’s lawyers’ letters and a city violation notice didn’t succeed…

Euronews, March 18, 2020: Which tree did voters root for in European Tree of the Year 2020?

Voters have rooted for a tree overseeing a flooded village in the Czech Republic in the European Tree of the Year competition. The 350-year-old pine, called Guardian of the Flooded Village, sits above the village of Chudobín, which was flooded due to the construction of a dam. According to local legend, a devil sat under the pine in the night and played the violin. However, it is more likely that they were hearing the strong winds blowing over the valley. The results of the competition is usually held at the European Parliament in Brussels, but were moved online in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. “We wondered how to convey the joy of the results to sixteen European communities. Finally, we combined the tree stories and personal testimonies of the first three finalists into a video that can now be watched and shared among tree fans across borders,” said Josef Jary from the Environmental Partnership Association, the contest organiser…

Boston, Massachusetts, Real Estate Boston, March 18, 2020: Why some trees didn’t drop their leaves

Q. We have a 15-year-old dwarf Japanese maple, and most years it is a beautiful red in the fall, but in the past two years, the leaves have turned a light brown and stayed on the tree. I have noticed others in the neighborhood have the same problem. What is causing this?
A. One possibility is that the warmer autumns we have been experiencing may be preventing some kinds of trees such as oaks, beech, and your Japanese maple from dropping their leaves. These are all trees that take a long time to prepare for winter. They drop their leaves relatively late in the fall. The wacky warm weather may be throwing off their timing, so they do not finish forming the abscission layers between the twig and the leaf stem that is necessary to release the leaves from the tree. There is a name for this: “marcescence.’’ The good news is that it doesn’t injure the tree. If winter winds haven’t removed them, new buds will push them off in the spring, when the old makes room for the new…

National Interest, March 17, 2020: What Tracking 300,000 Trees Around the World Tells Us

Tropical forests matter to each and every one of us. They suck colossal quantities of carbon out of the atmosphere, providing a crucial brake on the rate of climate change. Yet, new research we have just published in Nature shows that intact tropical forests are removing far less carbon dioxide than they used to. The change is staggering. Across the 1990s intact tropical forests – those unaffected by logging or fires – removed roughly 46 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This diminished to an estimated 25 billion tons in the 2010s. The lost sink capacity is 21 billion tons of carbon dioxide, equivalent to a decade of fossil fuel emissions from the UK, Germany, France and Canada combined. How did we reach such an alarming conclusion, and how is it that nobody knew this before? The answer is that we – along with 181 other scientists from 36 countries – have spent years tracking individual trees deep in the world’s rainforests. The idea is simple enough: we go and identify the tree species and measure the diameter and height of every individual tree in an area of forest. Then a few years later we return to exactly the same forest and re-measure all the trees again. We can see which grew, which died and if any new trees have grown. These measurements allow us to calculate how much carbon is stored in a forest, and how it changes over time. By repeating the measurements enough times and in enough places, we can reveal long-term trends in carbon uptake. This is easier said than done. Tracking trees in tropical forests is challenging, particularly in equatorial Africa, home to the second largest expanse of tropical forest in the world. As we want to monitor forests that are not logged or affected by fire, we need to travel down the last road, to the last village, and last path, before we even start our measurements…

New Haven, Connecticut, Litchfield County Times, March 17, 2020: Will ash trees return or go the way of the chestnut?

Sean McNamara used to volunteer as Redding’s tree warden — marking a few trees each year that needed to come down. Then the emerald ash borer hit in 2012 and the workload exploded. Last year, McNamara — the owner of Redding Nursery — surrendered his duties to the town road crew. “It got to be dozens of trees — mostly ash,” McNamara said. So it is, throughout the state. There are millions of ash trees in the state’s forest. Very few will survive the killing plague brought on by the arrival of a bright green beetle that infests an ash and destroys its ability to feed itself. “It’s a scourge,” said David Gardener, Roxbury’s tree warden. “It’s tragic.” You can now see ash trees blotched with huge pale yellow patches. Those patches are where woodpeckers have torn away the tree’s bark to feed on the ash borer larvae living beneath it — a process called blonding. “Once you see that, you know the tree is gone,” said Rick King, an arborist at the Kent Greenhouse. The loss of ashes is the third great destructive wave to spread through the forest of the eastern United States in little over a century…

London, UK, The Guardian, March 17, 2020: Wanaka’s famous Instagram tree attacked with a saw

A famous willow tree that symbolises hope and endurance has been attacked with a saw in the New Zealand tourist town of Wanaka. The crooked willow tree that stands in a lake has been photographed hundreds of thousands of times by sightseers and is a major tourist attraction for the South Island region. But on Wednesday it emerged that someone had lopped off a number of branches using a saw or chainsaw, including one branch that dips into the water. Councillor Quentin Smith said the tree was “iconic” and so far there were no leads on who was responsible. The incident comes at a difficult time for the local community, which was experiencing “extreme uncertainty” in the face of coronavirus impacting visitor numbers, he said. “It is disappointing that someone has chosen to vandalise it for whatever reasons,” Smith said. “We just don’t know what would have driven someone to do this, and at this time we have no clue who is responsible.” The Queenstown Lakes District Council’s arborist was scheduled to inspect the damaged tree on Thursday, and has advised the community that it should survive. Wanaka photographer Luisa Apanui told local media the incident was perplexing and sad…

Sonoma, California, Press-Democrat, March 17, 2020: Tree worker who died in accident at private Forestville property identified

The tree worker who died in an accident while on a job at a private Forestville property was identified Tuesday as a 31-year-old Modesto man. David Romero Mendoza was identified by the Sonoma County Coroner’s Office, according to county sheriff’s spokesman Juan Valencia. Cal-OSHA is investigating the fatality that occurred Monday. Mendoza worked for Mountain F Enterprises, a tree cutting service based in California, said Cal-OSHA spokesman Frank Polizzi. He was operating an ATV on the Forestville property near Highway 116 and Martinelli Road when he lost control and crashed. Cal-OSHA is investigating any possible violations of workplace safety regulations, and has six months to issue citations in connection with the incident…

Detroit, Michigan, Free Press, March 16, 2020: Detroit residents fight back on proposed tree nursery near vacant Herman Kiefer hospital

The developer working on Detroit’s Herman Kiefer revitalization project is planning to install a commercial nursery, raising objections from area residents who are concerned with the expansive acquisition of land in their neighborhood. The proposed nursery would go on 92 parcels of vacant land in the Virginia Park neighborhood near the vacant Herman Kiefer hospital complex, which dates to the early 20th Century and was a public health hospital with a history of treating infectious disease. The nursery would last five years and involve up to 3,000 trees, which would be sold for local construction projects and other uses. Some residents don’t want a for-profit business plopped down in their neighborhood. The tree nursery proposal also has raised larger concerns, emerging as a flashpoint for residents who are generally frustrated with the Herman Kiefer project’s slow pace, changing parameters and lack of community benefits. “Not one cent from this tree farm is going to be offered to the community,” Virginia Park resident Venita Thompkins said at a community meeting Wednesday. “People in this community need rehabs. We need houses. We need steps. We need assistance.” Thompkins and other residents have been mobilizing to stop the tree farm, circulating a petition and deeply researching the project to expose what they consider its shortfalls. The proposal is up for approval by the Detroit Board of Zoning Appeals, but a planned meeting for Tuesday was postponed to an unspecified date…

Houston, Texas, KPRC-TV, March 16, 2020: What Houstonians should be doing for their trees right now

I know, I know–you think trees in spring and you think Pollen! And you’re are right, as the only way to get those beautiful, leafy lush green trees is to go through the warm weather pollination season and the longer that season lasts, the more pollinating those trees seem to do. But that will end and now is the time to make sure you’re taking the right steps to ensure happy, healthy trees. And with our current social distancing measures, gardening and yard work are great ways to safely enjoy your life right now. Davey Trees, a company I’ve personally used for years, offers these four steps: From the graphic above, it’s pretty simple: Inspect trees and shrubs; prune dead branches; plant new trees; mulch your landscape; Fertilize plants. Ted Sonnier, Davey Tree District Manager, says now is the time. “While there is no set date for all trees to break bud, there are two ways Davey arborists predict when trees wake up for spring. First, they respond to warmer days after a stretch of cold temperatures in winter. At the same time, they react to a change in light duration, when shorter nights and longer days of sun exposure spur new growth and development. Trees have adapted to take extra caution because it can be devastating for leaves to be shocked by a sudden freeze. Because of this, trees typically leaf out in mid-March around Houston…”

Chicago, Illinois, Tribune, March 16, 2020: Construction work can kill trees — here’s how to keep them safe

The construction processes can be harmful and even deadly to nearby trees. Unless the damage is extensive, the trees may not die immediately, but can go into decline over several years before finally dying. With this delay in symptom development, the loss of the trees may not be associated with the construction work. It is possible to preserve trees on a building site, provided the right steps are taken before, during and after the construction is completed. Start by hiring a professional arborist to help you decide which trees are worth saving and to work with your contractor to protect trees throughout the construction process. One of the first decisions to make is determining which trees are to be preserved and which should be removed. Tree species differ in their ability to adapt to compaction, grade changes and root damage that can occur as part of the normal construction process. For example, oaks tend to be very sensitive to construction impact on roots. Consider the species, size, age, location, and condition of each tree. Older trees are more sensitive to environmental changes than younger trees, and therefore they will need more vigilant protecting. Large, mature trees typically do not survive when located within 5 feet of a new building, though you may find it worthwhile to try to save them by taking extra precautions to protect them. Younger, more vigorous trees usually can better withstand the stresses caused by construction…

Medical Express, March 16, 2020: Living in an area with more tree canopy improves people’s odds of getting enough sleep

Not feeling sharp? Finding it hard to concentrate? About 12-19% of adults in Australia regularly don’t get enough sleep, defined as less than 5.5-6 hours each night. But who’d have thought the amount of tree cover in their neighborhood could be a factor? Our latest research has found people with ample nearby green space are much more likely to get enough sleep than people in areas with less greenery. There’s plenty of helpful advice online on sleep, of course. Apart from personal routines, many other things can affect our sleep. Aircraft and traffic noise isn’t helpful. Other environmental factors at play include temperature, artificial light and air pollution. As a result of these factors and their interactions with others, such as age, occupation and socioeconomic circumstances, the chances of getting a decent night’s kip are unevenly distributed across the population. So it is not simply a matter of personal responsibility and choosing to get more sleep. We’ve been studying the health benefits of green space for many years. We recently published research that suggested more green space—and more tree cover in particular—could help reduce levels of cardiometabolic diseases like type 2 diabetes…

Everett, Washington, Herald, March 15, 2020: County to tackle a development side effect: invasive plants

In the next 100 years, native plants and habitat could vanish from urban forests like Meadowdale Beach. That’s because Himalayan blackberry, English holly and other invasive species are slowly choking out large trees emblematic of the Pacific Northwest, according to the environmental nonprofit Forterra. As development creeps farther into the rural reaches of Snohomish County, human disturbance is increasingly allowing invasive species to encroach on the 12,000 forested acres owned by the county. The local government is partnering with Forterra to keep those plant invaders at bay, dedicating $130,000 last year to the Healthy Forest Project. It kicked off in January as a 1,000-acre pilot project in 10 locations: Portage Creek, Kayak Point, Smith Island, McCollum Park, Picnic Point, Lake Stickney, the Evergreen State Fairgrounds, Lord Hill Regional Park, Meadowdale Beach and the Paradise Valley Conservation Area. The sites are centered around woods that impact salmon-bearing streams. Large trees shade the water, keeping the temperature cool enough for young fish to thrive, Moore said. Tree bark and leaves support an array of stream insects and critters that fish eat…

Yahoo.com, March 13, 2020: Climate change: Will planting millions of trees really save the planet?

From Greta Thunberg to Donald Trump and airlines to oil companies, everyone is suddenly going crazy for trees. The UK government has pledged to plant millions a year while other countries have schemes running into billions. But are these grand ambitions achievable? How much carbon dioxide do trees really pull in from the atmosphere? And what happens to a forest, planted amid a fanfare, over the following decades? Last year’s UK general election became a contest to look green. The Conservatives’ pledge of planting 30 million trees a year, confirmed in the Budget this week, is a big step up on current rates. Critics wonder whether it’s possible given that earlier targets were far easier and weren’t met. If the new planting rate is achieved, it would lead to something like 17% of the UK becoming forested, as opposed to 13% now. Tree planting is a popular idea because forests are not only beautiful but also useful: they support wildlife, help with holding back floodwater and provide timber…

San Francisco, California, Chronicle, March 15, 2020: Johnson County restoring natural prairies in a 10-year plan

Johnson County is restoring its natural prairies as part of a 10-year natural resources plan aimed at preserving and restoring the nation’s last tallgrass prairie ecosystem. Johnson County Parks and Recreation District is in the first year of a plan to restore and manage 8,700 acres with efforts across the state, nonprofits and government agencies, reported the Kansas News Service. The 10-year plan passed in 2019. Kansas is currently home to two-thirds of the country’s remaining tallgrass prairie. “Long-term, the goal is to be managing our woodlands and prairies for less than it costs to mow turf grass,” said Matt Garrett, a field biologist. He says getting there will take a lot of work, including spraying herbicide to kill invasive plants, physically remove trees and spreading large amount of native seed. “It took a solid two years for it to not be just weeds,” Garrett said. “It can be labor intensive and it can be expensive,” said Sara Baer, director of the Kansas Biological Survey. “Some of the most successful prairie restoration efforts have been successful through a lot of volunteer work.” Aside from professional staff and hired contractors, supporters from local groups and mountain bikers have all played a key role in the restoration. They believe that exposing people to something they would otherwise have to travel to see can help them understand how important natural prairies can be…

Aberdeen, South Dakota, Farm Forum, March 15, 2020: Growing Together: The fine art of apple tree pruning

“Prune until it hurts, and then prune some more,” was the old saying repeated by North Dakota State University’s Professor Neal Holland as he taught apple tree pruning to us young horticulture students some 45 years ago. We were so afraid of cutting away too much, but quickly learned that timidity prevents the proper pruning necessary to make trees more productive. Why should we prune apple trees? The most apparent reason is to control height for easier picking. If left unpruned, apple trees can become large, with the best fruits high on the outer perimeter where better sunlight encourages flowering and fruiting. If left unpruned, large upper branches shade and overshadow lower branches. Proper pruning encourages fruit formation on lower branches where picking is easier. Pruning also decreases disease by increasing air circulation through the tree as the canopy is thinned, removing overcrowded branches. And it helps trees bear fruit more evenly each year, leveling out the every-other-year heavy crop pattern of many apple varieties, The best time to prune apple trees is late winter, after severe cold is likely past, but before new growth begins to sprout. March through early April is usually a good pruning window for fruit trees…

Norman, Oklahoma, Transcript, March 12, 2020: Judge to consider dismissing tree lawsuit

A judge will decide next week if a group of Norman residents can continue to enjoy a tree canopy along S. Berry Road. The residents filed a lawsuit in February against Oklahoma Electric Cooperative to prevent the utility from removing several trees, which create a potential hazardous situation by interfering with overhead electrical lines. Cleveland County District Judge Jeff Virgin granted a temporary restraining order that prevented OEC from starting the tree removal. Virgin initially was scheduled to make a permanent ruling on the lawsuit March 26. However, OEC attorney Gregory Tontz filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit Feb. 28. A response from the Norman residents and their attorney, Doug Wall, must be filed by 5 p.m. Monday. Virgin said he’ll likely rule on OEC’s request Tuesday. OEC spokeswoman Autumn McMahon said this type of lawsuit is rare. “It’s very uncommon to have lawsuits like this,” she said. “From our perspective, the best way to be good stewards of our members’ money is to dismiss this lawsuit, which does not have a lot of standing.” Doug Wall, attorney for the residents, could not be reached for comment Thursday. None of the Norman residents involved in the lawsuit own property where the 17 trees are located, which is a significant issue in the case. The residents argued in court that removal of the trees would cause irreparable harm to the value and aesthetics” of their homes…

Sonoma, California, Marin Independent Journal, March 12, 2020: Mill Valley commission backs restaurateur’s tree removal plan

A decision made by the Mill Valley Planning Commission shows that not all trees are created equal. Despite neighborhood opposition, the commission voted 3-1 on Tuesday to allow five 50-foot trees to be replaced with red maples at the corner of Camino Alto and East Blithedale Avenue. The property is being redeveloped into a pizza restaurant. The permit also allows the applicant to plant up to 11 trees, each with a 48-inch box. The Freeman Park Neighborhood Association led the effort to save the trees. Its president, Susan Kirsch, said she is disappointed with the commission’s decision. “We want the owner of the property to know that the neighbors are in favor of something happening at that corner,” Kirsch said. “But I think this is a drastic move and Mill Valley will be making an error cutting down trees, especially these.” Another Mill Valley resident, Judy Thier, agreed. She said the property is at the gateway into the residential zone of the city and the new trees will take a long time before they mature. “My issue is not only replacing the trees, it’s what they’re replacing them with,” Thier said. “With these little spindly trees that they say within 20 or 30 years they’ll be beautiful — I’m going to be dead then.” The five blackwood acacia and eucalyptus trees that are to be removed are non-heritage trees, said Lisa Newman, senior planner. “Even though they’re large,” Newman said. “They’re just not of the species that are considered important to be protected in Mill Valley…”

St. George, Utah, News, March 12, 2020: ‘Every winter we see an increase of unlicensed companies’; Officials advise against harmful tree topping

As weather starts to warm up and people venture out to take stock of their landscaping, many homeowners cast an eye higher in the sky toward the trees on their property, and city of St. George officials are reminding people that the practice of ‘tree topping’ actually does more damage than good. “There is an epidemic of residents who are somewhere getting some bad advice, and they’re topping the trees in their yard,” Shane Moore, city of St. George deputy director of parks, previously told St. George News. “We just want to make people aware that this old-timey style of pruning is really hurting their trees.” According to a press release from the city, when a tree is topped, 50-100% of leafed branches are removed, taking away the tree’s food source and causing it to go into stress mode. The tree then sends out epicormic shoots – “what we call water suckers,” Moore said. These new branches do not have strong attachments and can eventually fall from the tree. Trees can “heal” a wound from a proper pruning cut but not from a stub cut like those seen in tree topping. Moore called a branch that has been cut in the middle a “superhighway for disease to enter the tree…”

St. Joseph, Missouri, News Press, March 12, 2020: Is your tree on death’s door? Here’s how to tell

Worried about a sad-looking tree in your yard? Climate change, invasive species and even international trade are taking a serious toll on California trees. An estimated 150 million trees died during the drought that started in December 2011, according to Smithsonian Magazine, and the stressed trees that survived became more vulnerable to attack by a host of newcomer pests, said Philippe Rolshausen, subtropical tree specialist for the Cooperative Extension office at UC Riverside. “There are lots of invasive pests everywhere because of global warming and the movement of plant materials in general,” he said. Identifying specific tree diseases or pests usually requires an expert, but Rolshausen said three indicators suggest your tree needs help: yellowing leaves, a thinned-out canopy and branch die-back. If you’re willing to wait, researchers or master gardeners in the state’s county Cooperative Extension offices can help you diagnose a sick tree for free, Rolshausen said. Professional consulting arborists usually can respond more quickly but charge $200 to $400 for a consultation, said Darren Butler, a Los Angeles-based consulting arborist, horticulturist, landscape designer and cocreator of the GardenZeus.com. When you consider how healthy, mature trees boost property values, that’s a relatively small fee to pay, he said, but people often wait until it’s too late to ask for help…

Bergen County, New Jersey, Record, March 12, 2020: Neighbors’ legal battle over backyard bamboo trees divides NJ Supreme Court

A split between Cherry Hill neighbors over the fate of a fence of creeping, 20-foot-tall bamboo trees grew to divide even the state’s top legal minds. A 4-3 decision from the New Jersey Supreme Court on Wednesday finally ended the case in a ruling that says landowners who want to take their neighbors to court over the destruction of trees or shrubs must show their property value was diminished as a result. The story begins with bamboo and ends with a victory for bamboo killers. This is not the first time the non-native plant that grows explosively has created problems in New Jersey. More than a dozen municipalities have passed ordinances regulating where bamboo can be planted. Stories of neighbors fighting neighbors over the flora abound. This one happened in Cherry Hill…

St. Louis, Missouri, KMOV-TV(March 11, 2020): Metro East woman says STL tree trimming company damaged her home

A Belleville homeowner who didn’t want to be identified says tree trimmers she hired lost control of a 20-foot tree limb that fell on top of her house. She says she hired Grant Tree Removal for the job. They’re based out of Missouri. As outlined in her paperwork, the company was hired to cut down a tree and remove limbs hanging over her house. She says the slip-up by the tree trimmers is going to cost her at least $2,000 to fix damage to her gutter and shingles. “They refuse to contact me,” she said. News 4 spoke with Grant Tree Service over the phone and a representative claimed the limbs were already on her house when they arrived to do work. A fact the Belleville homeowner says is true. She says the paperwork states they were to remove limbs that were hanging over the house but not on the roof. “There were no trees on my house, this was the agreement to remove limbs from two trees,” she said. Grant Tree Service says damage done to her home wasn’t done by their crew…

Phys.org, March 11, 2020: Urban trees could cut extreme heat by up to 6 degrees

Australia just experienced the second-warmest summer on record, with 2019 being the hottest year. Summer temperatures soared across the country, causing great economic and human loss. The good news is we can do something about this in our own backyards. We have found trees and vegetation can lower local land temperatures by up to 5-6℃ on days of extreme heat. Our newly published research into a summer heatwave in Adelaide suggests that a simple solution to extreme heat is literally at everyone’s doorstep. It relies on the trees, the grasses and the vegetation in our own backyards. During a three-day heatwave that hit Adelaide in 2017, AdaptWest took to the skies to measure land surface temperatures from an aircraft. Our analysis of the data collected on that day suggests urban trees and grasses can lower daytime land temperatures by up to 5-6℃ during extreme heat. The largest temperature reductions were in the hottest suburbs and those further away from the coast. These significant reductions were mostly achieved thanks to backyard trees…

Goodyear, Arizona, West Valley News, March 11, 2020: Buckeye Mayor Meck testifies at U.S. Senate on thirsty salt cedar trees

Buckeye, Arizona, Mayor Jackie A. Meck told the U.S. Senate drinking water is scarce enough for cities in the West – they don’t need to be competing with invasive species for it, too. Meck was one of several witnesses March 4 at a Senate hearing on the impact of nonnative species – mostly quagga and zebra mussels clogging water intake pipes and forcing out native species, but also salt cedars lining the region’s riverbanks. But while others were focused on mussels, Meck said the problem for his city is the thirsty salt cedar trees lining the Gila River, sucking up 200-300 gallons of water per day… Salt cedar trees were first planted in the state in the late 1800s to control erosion and have since spread to 15,000 acres along the Gila River in Buckeye, Goodyear and Avondale. Besides being thirsty, the trees deposit salt around their bases and are highly flammable, which can pose a wildfire threat. “In Arizona, our desert rivers like the Verde, Salt and Gila have been hit particularly hard,” McSally said in her opening statement. “Right now these riverbeds are choked with up to 4,000 salt cedars per acre…”

Los Angeles, California, KABC-TV, March 10, 2020: $7.3M settlement going to family after daughter’s skull fractured by tree limb in Pasadena

A Southern California family is speaking out, saying the accident that left their toddler with a fractured skull never had to happen. The accident happened when Eric and Marci Palmstrom had dropped off their daughter, Adelaide, at Linda Vista Children’s Center in Pasadena. Hours later they got a call. A tree limb had fallen on Adelaide while she played in the yard of the day care. Her skull was fractured. Her neck, spine and leg were also broken and she had internal bleeding. Adelaide’s parents were stunned. “How does something like this happen? You drop your child off at day care, and you expect to pick them up same way you dropped them off,” Marci Palmstrom said. The accident happened in 2017. The road to recovery would be long and arduous for Adelaide. One week in a hospital, two months in a heavy, cumbersome halo held in place with screws. Adelaide was requiring round-the-clock care. “The both of us had to stop working to care for her 24/7,” Marci Palmstrom said. “She was in pain. She was upset. She was sad.” It would be more than two years before Adelaide’s last skull wound from one of those screws would heal. And the family’s attorney says the entire ordeal was preventable. “This was something that they knew or should have known was going to happen,” said Robert Glassman, an attorney with Panish Shea & Boyle…

Hilo, Hawaii, Hawaii Tribune-Herald, March 10, 2020: State confirms rapid ohia fungal disease on 5th Oahu tree

Hawaii officials have confirmed another discovery of a fungal disease that has killed hundreds of thousands of native ohia trees in the state. An ohia tree with the infection was found on Oahu near the popular Poamoho trail above Wahiawa. The state Department of Land and Natural Resources confirmed the tree was infected with Ceratocystis huliohia, the less aggressive of the two fungal species responsible for the blight. The fungal disease infected four other trees on Oahu and has been found on each of the four main islands. An aerial survey in November found Oahu’s fourth case of the fungal disease at the Honolulu Watershed Forest Reserve above Tripler Army Medical Center. The disease was previously detected on Kamehameha Schools land above Pearl City and in two different residential areas of Windward Oahu. “That’s kind of a large area, so that leads us to believe that it’s fairly widely distributed on the island,” state protection forester Rob Hauff said…

US Dept of Agriculture, March 10, 2020: Why the Trees Outside Forests Count

Windbreaks and other agroforestry practices provide a wide range of agricultural production and conservation benefits, helping farmers and furthering the goals of U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Perdue’s Agriculture Innovation Agenda (PDF, 196 KB). Windbreaks are designed to increase crop yields, reduce erosion, and improve soil health while also providing other conservation benefits like wildlife habitat. However, an inventory of agroforestry practices, including windbreaks, has long been a missing piece of information. “You can’t manage what you don’t measure” is a common saying in the USDA Forest Service as we strive to use data and metrics to better inform our decisions, a key component of the Agriculture Innovation Agenda. We want to improve our data, so we know we are helping farmers increase production while decreasing our impact on the environment. Recently, the Forest Service Forest Inventory and Analysis Program and USDA National Agroforestry Center, along with several state and university partners, have worked together to advance the agroforestry inventory in the central Plains states agricultural region…

Quartz, March 10, 2020: Researchers are sitting on tech that could transform trees into power generators

What if trees could provide electricity to cities? Imagine the tangle of power lines, clunky solar panels, or bird-killing wind turbines replaced by beautiful and lush green groves that double as clean energy generators. This surrealist idyll isn’t too far-fetched, say a team of researchers from China, Italy and Japan. They’ve been working to harvest usable electricity from plants by experimenting with the “triboelectric” effect in tree foliage. The phenomenon occurs when certain materials that rub against each are pried apart, akin to how static electricity is generated. (The word “tribo” means “friction” in Greek.) As thrilling as this sounds, graduate students from Keio University in Tokyo have also paused to think through the ethical implications of such a powerful technology. Colombian-American industrial designer Catalina Lotero is part of the multi-disciplinary team, and explained their work at the recent Design Indaba conference in Cape Town. Leaves, which are positively charged, produce small amounts of electricity when they come in contact with the tree trunk or any other negatively-charged material Lotero says. The team is looking to build out this energy capacity into a “biological microgrid” called Raiki. They envision the technology as an alternative for communities underserved by traditional grids…

New York City, The Wall Street Journal, March 9, 2020: This Old Metal Hook Could Determine Whether PG&E Committed a Crime

A 3-inch hook purchased for 56 cents around the end of World War I could help determine whether PG&E Corp. PCG -11.56% faces criminal charges for starting the deadliest wildfire in California history. Known as a “C-hook,” the badly worn piece of metal broke on Nov. 8, 2018, dropping a high-voltage electric line that sparked the Camp Fire, destroying the town of Paradise and killing 85 people. PG&E has hundreds of thousands of hooks, manufactured by a number of companies, holding up power lines in its 70,000 square-mile-territory, but the utility doesn’t have good data on how old they are, and is trying to replace many of them. Whether PG&E was negligent in inspecting and replacing these hooks has emerged as a key factor in a continuing California investigation that could determine whether the company and some of its former executives face criminal charges for their role in wildfires. “They’re excellent hooks if you don’t leave them up in towers for 100 years,” said Mike Ramsey, the district attorney of California’s Butte County who is leading the investigation along with the state attorney general’s office. Mr. Ramsey’s office sent pieces of the broken hook to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s laboratory in Quantico, Va., for forensic examination. He said he expects to make a decision soon on whether to charge PG&E, individuals at the company, or both…

London, UK, Citylab, March 9, 2020: London’s Trees Are Saving the City Billions

London’s leafy streets and gardens have long been prized for their beauty — and more recently their ability to counteract carbon emissions and improve air quality. But the value of urban trees can also be measured with money. A new report from Britain’s Office of National Statistics estimates tree cover saved the capital more than 5 billion pounds ($6.56 billion) from 2014 to 2018 through air cooling alone. Additionally, by keeping summer temperatures bearable for workers, trees prevented productivity losses of almost 11 billion pounds. The estimates underline just how vital the role trees play is in making cities comfortable and functional in a warming world — particularly in London. An unusually long, hot summer in 2018 pushed cost savings estimates to their highest level to date. Part of the study’s purpose is to promote planting trees and maintaining green spaces, according to Hazel Trenbirth, a member of the ONS’ Natural Capital team, which looks at cost savings of greenery across the U.K. “Britain’s trees have a value that goes far beyond what you can get from chopping them down,” she said…

Country Living, March 7, 2020: 7 trees and plants with the most invasive roots

Invasive tree roots are a common problem for many homeowners. If left unattended, aggressive roots will cause disruption to pavements, buildings and patio slabs. From fast-growing Japanese knotweed to the classic willow tree, there are many plants and trees to avoid planting in your garden if you are concerned about their roots. “Most trees and plants look impressive above ground, but underneath they could be causing havoc,” a spokesperson for BillyOh explains. “Take the humble mint herb for example, it’s easy to grow and makes a great addition to many dishes, but its roots are seriously invasive and can spread throughout your garden in a weed-like manner if not contained. “Similarly, thanks to the magnolia’s crowded under-soil space the roots occupy and the dense canopy of magnolia leaves, it’s almost impossible for any other plantings to thrive near it.” Take a look at the invasive trees and plants below…

Old Mission Peninsula, Michigan, Old Mission Gazette, March 9, 2020: Bowers Harbor Park Trees Cut, Treated for Beech Disease

If you’ve noticed some trees missing at Bowers Harbor Park, that’s because the Peninsula Township Parks Committee approved the cutting of them due to Beech Bark Disease, a disease caused by both a sap-feeding scale insect and a fungus. According to this report over at Michigan.gov, the trees are first infested with beech scale. Scale feeding allows infection by the Neonectria fungus, which kills the wood, blocking the flow of sap. Affected trees decline in health and eventually die. While some of the trees – marked with two ribbons earlier this year – at Bowers Harbor Park needed to be cut down, others marked with one ribbon only needed to be trimmed. At their January meeting, the Parks Committee approved a bid of $4200 from Parshall Tree Care Experts to tend to the trees, including treating them with a spray in the months of July or August. This treatment, which needs to be done for two consecutive years, prevents the insects from boring through the bark and killing the tree…

Phys.org, March 9, 2020: Rain, more than wind, led to massive toppling of trees in Hurricane Maria, says study

A new study says that hurricanes Irma and Maria combined in 2017 to knock down a quarter of the biomass contained in Puerto Rico’s trees—and that massive rainfall, more than wind, was a previously unsuspected key factor. The surprising finding suggests that future hurricanes stoked by warming climate may be even more destructive to forests than scientists have already projected. The study appears this week in the journal Scientific Reports. “Up to now, the focus on damage to forests has been on catastrophic wind speeds. Here, the data show that rain tends to be the greatest risk factor,” said Jazlynn Hall, a Columbia University Ph.D. student who led the study. Her team identified several ways in which extreme rain might topple trees, but they do not completely understand the phenomenon yet, she said…

Kansas City, Missouri, Star, March 8, 2020: Letter – Sweetgum trees have no good purpose. KC, get rid of them

I believe the sweetgum trees along our city streets should be cut down. I realize this is a first world problem, but because I pay higher taxes to live on a boulevard on a corner lot, and because I am fined if I do not keep snow cleared from my sidewalks, I feel justified to have my complaints heard. Please let me state that I am a “tree-hugger” and have been since my youth. In fact, when we bought our home, I was attracted to its beautiful treed lot. But I dislike sweetgums and I hate their prickly little seed pod balls. The pods are a nuisance and are quite hazardous for the multitudes of pedestrians, joggers and track teams that frequently use Ward Parkway. This thoroughfare is home to numerous charitable runs because it is a beautiful, tree-lined boulevard. Therefore, in addition to keeping the snow cleared from our walks, I feel compelled to remove sweetgum balls. Countless joggers have thanked me for removing them, telling me about their falls and injuries from slipping on the pods under their feet…

Detroit, Michigan, WXYZ-TV, March 6, 2020: Invasive insect that weakens trees found in Michigan county

Hemlock woolly adelgids have been found in southern Mason County, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources says. Infestations were previously found in Allegan, Ottawa, Muskegon and Oceana counties. Hemlock woolly adelgids are small insects that use their long, siphoning mouthparts to extract sap from hemlock trees. Their feeding weakens needles, shoots and branches. Without treatment, infested trees die within four to 10 years. This spring, crews will focus on treated infested trees to prevent hemlock woolly adelgid from spreading further north. There is an internal quarantine in place for Allegan, Ottawa, Muskegon and Oceana counties. The quarantine restricts the movement of hemlock nursery stock and unprocessed hemlock products…

Washington, D.C., Post, March 8, 2020: Tunisia is one of the world’s top olive oil producers. But now, it’s facing a crisis of too much.

Mohamed Sid is waiting for the lights to go out — not for lack of oil, but because there is too much of it. Unusually heavy rains have yielded a bumper crop of olives across Tunisia, and that oversupply has sent the price of olive oil plummeting, provoking a crisis in one of the world’s largest producers. Sid’s olive trees in the inland province of Kairouan have borne twice as many olives as usual, about 30 metric tons, but he says his earnings are just half of those last year. He cannot cover his costs or pay the electric bill, and he worries the electricity company will soon pull the plug. “I’m fed up, and I wrote on the farm wall ‘For sale’ because I can’t stand this anymore,” he said. With its largely chemical-free orchards, Tunisia is the largest exporter of organic olive oil in the world. Tunisian olive oils have won medals at international competitions in London and Los Angeles…

Nassau, New York, Newsday, March 5, 2020: Village officials may fell trees whose roots have damaged curbs, sidewalks

Officials in Port Washington North are considering cutting down trees that have encroached on sidewalks and lifted curbs to make way for a road repaving project and remove a safety hazard for pedestrians. “I don’t want to cut a single tree down in this village,” Mayor Bob Weitzner told the village board last week. But “it is at the point … where we as a board have got to address the problem, and it is not going to be an easy decision to make.” Removing mature trees can be a highly controversial move on Long Island, where residents have sued and expressed outrage over trees that were cut down for road projects. For Port Washington North, the infrastructure damage created by growing tree roots became particularly problematic this year, as the village plans to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to repave several residential streets in the summer…

Dundee, Scotland, UK, The Courier, March 6, 2020: Tree order on 35-year-old Angus specimens branded ‘rather unfair’ by householder

A tree protection order has been labelled “rather unfair” by the Arbroath house owner who planted the trees on his garden sand bank more than three decades ago. Councillors voted narrowly to confirm the order put in place by planning officials after proposals emerged to bring the trees down for development of a house in Colin Keillor’s Cairniehill Gardens home. The mix of specimens includes beech, horse chestnut, ash, sycamore, holly and pine. Official Alan Hunter told development standards councillors: “The trees are on a prominent knoll and are considered significant in relation to the amenity of the area. “It is a feature we consider deserves protection. We are satisfied the trees are healthy and don’t present any significant issues in relation to safety.” Mr Keillor told the committee: “I would question everything that has been said. The trees are of no value or significance. “These are trees I planted 36 years ago when I built the house – not all the trees are to be taken down. “Tree roots are causing the wall to bulge and we have had problems with limbs falling off. Last summer one fell across Cairnie Loan, fortunately it didn’t hit anything…

Phoenix, Arizona, New Times, March 5, 2020: Developer Concedes, Will Keep Giant Pine Trees at Controversial Alhambra Project

Nearly two dozen 50-year-old pine trees that were on the chopping block as part of a controversial development behind Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church in Phoenix’s Alhambra neighborhood will not be axed, after the developer ceded to outcry from nearby residents. At a community meeting Tuesday night at Washington Park, Ed Bull, an attorney with the firm Burch and Cracchiolo, representing developer Residential Pursuits, told the 40 or so residents in attendance (mostly white seniors, and many of them vocally miffed) that 18 of the 23 trees would remain as is. Five unhealthy ones would be cut down, and 38 new trees — half of them pine, the rest either elm or a similar species — would be planted. It’s a minor win for tree-huggers in a city whose Master Plan to plant more trees has all but stagnated in the decade since it came out…

Global Voices, March 6, 2020: A cancer treating yew tree is critically endangered in Nepal

With less than 500 mature trees remaining in the wild, Taxus mairei (or Maire’s Yew tree) is critically endangered in Nepal. While yews have been used in Nepal as traditional medicine for years, T. mairei is one of the major sources of the anticancer drug, Taxol. According to estimates, a ton of T. mairei’s leaves can produce about 550 grams of 10-DAB-III which is used as a chemical intermediate in the preparation of the anticancer drug paclitaxel (Taxol). The tree’s high commercial value has created a leaf harvesting business; however, T. mairei is only found in the wild in three districts in Nepal, and as its numbers dwindle, the need for a responsible and sustainable conservation plan is more important than ever. Paclitaxel, sold under the brand name Taxol, is one of the most successful and widely used anticancer drugs developed in the past 50 years. This anticancer drug was first found in the bark of the Taxus brevifolia (Pacific yew tree). All the species of Taxus are known to produce Taxol. Apart from T. mairei, another two species of yew namely T. wallichiana and T. contarta are also found in Nepal…

Fort Rucker, Alabama, U.S. Army, March 4, 2020: ‘Trees make good neighbors’ — Fort Rucker conducts tree replacement program around assault track

With its sights set on providing shade and natural beauty for future generations while protecting people and power lines in the present, the Directorate of Public Works is conducting a tree replacement program in the areas around the air assault track. “Like our other infrastructure that dates from when Fort Rucker was founded as a post, a lot of our trees in our central core area are just aged, and as they age they become full of disease, wind damage and things like that, so we’re conducting a project to replace them,” said Joseph Wyka, DPW director. A lot of the mature oak and other trees in the area along Andrews Avenue and Third Avenue date back to the 1940s-60s, according to Wyka, and now is the time to take action in assessing all of them, picking which ones to remove and creating a replacement plan to ensure future Soldiers, families and employees can continue to enjoy the shade and natural beauty they provide. “Trees are good neighbors — we’re excited about this project,” he added. While tree management has been a post-wide continuous process pretty much since Fort Rucker’s inception, Wyka said DPW Natural Resources staff began assessing the trees in the air assault track area in the fall and plan to start removing trees in earnest this summer…

Jacksonville, Florida, WTLV-TV, March 4, 2020: Overgrown tree on city property posing safety hazard to 77-year-old Jacksonville resident

During an I’m Telling Ken session at the Florida Cracker Kitchen, the On Your Side team heard from Shanda Suggs. “I am concerned about my father’s safety,” Suggs said. Her father, John Turner lives on West 9th Street in a neighborhood that needs some attention. Turner is 77-years-old. “He has his health struggles,” she said. “Every day he is walking with a cane with an oxygen container.” Suggs said the problem in his neighborhood is a city-owned tree and its root system. When he leaves home he has to walk past the tree and over its very overgrown root system. The roots are so overgrown they have become a safety hazard. “The city told me the tree is not dead, so is my dad going to be dead from falling over this tree,” Suggs said. While the tree may appear healthy, what the root system is doing is not. It is coming out of the ground and tearing the concrete curb apart, bulging from the seams. “I fear the worst,” she said. ” I want the city to give it attention.” Suggs said she was told as long as the tree is healthy nothing can be done, even though the tree is also destroying the curb…

Washington, D.C., Post, March 4, 2020: Cherry trees’ peak bloom expected March 27; festival organizers monitor coronavirus

A wet and mild winter will mean early blooms this year, according to the National Park Service, with the District’s famous cherry tree blossoms expected to peak March 27-30. Despite earlier concerns that the trees might bloom before the festival celebrating them begins March 20, the big question on the minds of city officials and festival organizers has been less about the flowers and more about the hundreds of thousands of people who come to see them. The spreading coronavirus has in recent weeks resulted in international travel restrictions, economic fallout and at least 11 deaths in the United States. The National Cherry Blossom Festival, where revelers can watch fireworks, dozens of performances, a kite festival and a parade, typically draws more than 1 million people to the Washington region. Concerns over the virus this year have led to some international cancellations. Two student dance troupes from Japan — one from a high school and another from a university — have withdrawn from the festival, which will run through April 12. One of the event’s Japanese corporate sponsors has issued a companywide ban on international travel, which means emissaries from the organization won’t attend the festival in Washington…

Washington, D.C., WRC-TV, March 4, 2020: Man Killed in West Springfield After Yearslong Fight Between Neighbors: Victim’s Mother

A 24-year-old man was shot and killed Tuesday evening in West Springfield, Virginia, and a 52-year-old man is charged in his murder. Javon Prather died after being found shot in the 7700 block of Bedstraw Court. Michael Hetle, also of Springfield, was taken into custody and charged with second-degree murder. The victim’s mother says the suspect was her son’s next-door neighbor and that they had fought bitterly for years. Police declined to comment on what led up to the shooting and said they are investigating. Prather was shot at about 4:50 p.m. A neighbor said he heard at least seven shots. Prather was pronounced dead at the scene. He worked as a manager at Giant Foods and served in the Maryland National Guard for six years, his mother, Shabon Prather, said Wednesday. He had planned to reenlist and was a “good man,” his mother said. Prather and Hetle had argued for years, Shavon Prather said. She cited arguments over dog poop left outside…

Los Angeles, California, Times, March 3, 2020: PG&E tells judge it can’t commit to more tree trimmers to prevent wildfires

Lawyers for Pacific Gas & Electric said the utility can’t commit to hiring hundreds more tree trimmers in the way that a federal judge wants to cut the risk of starting more catastrophic wildfires in California. U.S. District Judge William Alsup ordered the utility last month to add at least 1,100 more tree trimmers to help prevent trees and branches from falling onto its power lines and igniting. The judge is overseeing PG&E’s criminal probation imposed after its natural gas lines blew up a San Francisco Bay Area neighborhood and killed eight people in 2010. He has taken a strong interest in PG&E’s safety record after the company’s power lines started a series of wildfires that killed 130 people and destroyed thousands of homes. Attorneys for PG&E said in court filings Monday that the company is unable to provide a deadline by which it will hire a set number of new contracted workers to cut trees and branches around power lines…

Asheville, North Carolina, Citizen-Times, March 3, 2020: Answer Man: Tree planting rules in effect? Better protections coming?

Question: … It’s upsetting to me hearing/reading about the hypocrisy of the, “Now that I’ve got mine, you stay out” mentality. This is so pervasive, in so many forms today. I have three suggestions that should make things better. TREES, TREES and TREES! How about a county ordinance that requires any developer plant two trees for every one uprooted? Simple right? Or, is something like this already in place?
My answer: My favorite recent tree protest came when a guy attempted to cut down a really old tree by an apartment development as a protest against the very same tree being slated for removal. But he only got part-way through with the sawing, as it was a honker of a tree, and that left a dangerous situation for all nearby motorists, as the tree could’ve toppled into the intersection at any time. So we were left with an unsuccessful preemptive tree cutting to protest an imminent tree cutting, with the final result being professionals had to come in and cut the tree down earlier than planned. Very Asheville. Both the county and the city do have rules about replanting trees, and developers often do plant a good number of trees once projects are finished. Essentially, they are going to meet the code requirements. But, you can’t expect them to replace a clear-cut forest with another forest. They’re going to plant young trees, in a landscaped pattern, around the new buildings. So when an entire lot has been cleared and graded, as has been the case recently on Long Shoals Road and on Airport Road, don’t look for the same number of trees to go back in…

Honolulu, Hawaii, KHNL-TV, March 3, 2020: Oahu Hiking trail closed after Rapid Ohia Death fungus found in another tree

The Department of Land and Natural Resources has temporarily closed the Poamoho Trail in Central Oahu after the discovery of another tree with Rapid Ohia Death. The state said the tree was recently discovered to have the fungal disease. Because it is close to the trail, Poamoho will be closed until crews can remove the tree, which is expected to take place this week. The DLNR said crews will also conduct tests to ensure the fungus hasn’t spread to surrounding trees. The fungus has already ravaged thousands of acres of Ohia trees on Hawaii Island, and has been found on all main Hawaiian Islands. Oahu only has five documented cases of the lesser aggressive strain of the fungus. The ohia is considered the most important endemic tree in the state, comprising approximately 80 percent of Hawaii’s native forests, the DLNR said…

Dallas, Texas, Morning News, March 3, 2020: Peaches this year won’t be hurt by ‘lack of chill,’ says Texas fruit tree expert

The mild winter, coupled with what feels like an early spring, had me worried about peach season. That’s because peaches need a certain number of “chill” (very cold) hours each winter in order for the peaches to make in the coming spring and summer. The requirement’s different for each variety, ranging from a few hundred chill hours to nearly a thousand. Great news, then, comes from Larry Stein, Ph.D., Texas A&M’s go-to tree-fruit guy. “[It’s] been a relatively mild winter, but a pretty good chill year,” he writes in an email. “Bloom should not be hurt by lack of chill. Now we just have to dodge the late cold spells.” Those would be the pesky late-season frosts that sometimes bedevil Texas agriculture. But as long as we stay clear of those, we’ll be rolling in juicy Texas peaches starting sometime in May. First up will be the cling varieties. A good bellwether for the season’s start is the mid-May opening of Ham Orchards farm market store near Terrell…

San Francisco, California, KPIX-TV, March 2, 2020: PG&E Says It Can’t Commit To Hiring More Tree Trimmers As Ordered By Judge

Lawyers for Pacific Gas & Electric said the utility can’t commit to hiring hundreds more tree trimmers in the way that a federal judge wants to cut the risk of starting more catastrophic wildfires in California. U.S. District Judge William Alsap ordered the utility last month to add at least 1,100 more tree trimmers to help prevent trees and branches from falling onto its power lines and igniting. The judge is overseeing PG&E’s criminal probation imposed after its natural gas lines blew up a San Francisco Bay Area neighborhood and killed eight people in 2010. He has taken a strong interest in PG&E’s safety record after the company’s power lines started a series of wildfires that killed 130 people and destroyed thousands of homes. Attorneys for PG&E said in court filings Monday that the company is unable to provide a deadline by which it will hire a set number of new contracted workers to cut trees and branches around power lines. They argued they shouldn’t be forced into hiring a set number of people for “a single part of its multi-faceted wildfire safety efforts.” PG&E’s filing said the company has about 5,500 tree trimmers and plans to train about 2,800 more next year. But the company wants to use that pool of newly trained workers partly to replace out-of-state contractors who were hired at a premium…

Tallahassee, Florida, WCTV, March 2, 2020: City of Tallahassee removing “high risk” trees from Chain of Parks

The City of Tallahassee says it will remove five “high risk” trees from its Chain of Parks, since they have significant natural decay and structural damage. The city says it received assessments of the trees from internal and external experts, and they agree that the threat the trees pose outweigh their benefits. Scans have been performed on the trees for several years to provide more insight into their internal condition. “In advance of the busy spring season that brings thousands of people to our Chain of Parks, now is the appropriate time to remove the trees that are at the end of their lives. We are extremely grateful for the professional, thorough efforts of our arborists and community tree advocates who collaborated closely on this issue helping to ensure public safety,” Director of the City’s Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Affairs Department Ashley Edwards said. “We are entrusted with being stewards of our natural resources, and we take that responsibility seriously.” The Florida Department of Transportation and the city will work together to make sure the tree removal process is safe. Work will begin this Saturday, according to the city. Nearby traffic lanes and sidewalks will be closed to protect the public. Drivers are asked to be careful when travelling near the Chain of Parks this week…

Los Angeles, California, Times, February 28, 2020: Is your tree on death’s door? Here’s how to tell

Worried about a sad-looking tree in your yard? Climate change, invasive species and even international trade are taking a serious toll on California trees. An estimated 150 million trees died during the drought that started in December 2011, according to Smithsonian Magazine, and the stressed trees that survived became more vulnerable to attack by a host of newcomer pests, said Philippe Rolshausen, subtropical tree specialist for the Cooperative Extension office at UC Riverside. “There are lots of invasive pests everywhere because of global warming and the movement of plant materials in general,” he said. Identifying specific tree diseases or pests usually requires an expert, but Rolshausen said three indicators suggest your tree needs help: yellowing leaves, a thinned-out canopy and branch die-back. If you’re willing to wait, researchers or master gardeners in the state’s county Cooperative Extension offices can help you diagnose a sick tree for free, Rolshausen said. Professional consulting arborists usually can respond more quickly but charge $200 to $400 for a consultation, said Darren Butler, a Los Angeles-based consulting arborist, horticulturist, landscape designer and cocreator of the GardenZeus.com. When you consider how healthy, mature trees boost property values, that’s a relatively small fee to pay, he said, but people often wait until it’s too late to ask for help. Search for trained arborists through the American Society of Consulting Arborists or the International Society of Arboriculture…

Davis, California, University of California – Davis, March 2, 2020: California trees are suffering under climate change and invasive pests

Trees are facing stress from a variety of pressures in California, including climate change and exotic invasive pests, reported Jeanette Marantos in the Los Angeles Times. “There are lots of invasive pests everywhere because of global warming and the movement of plant materials in general,” said Philippe Rolshausen, UC Cooperative Extension subtropical tree specialist at UC Riverside. Yellowing leaves, a thinning canopy and branch die-back are symptoms that the tree is sick. UC Master Gardeners, headquartered in UCCE county offices across the state, can provide free help, the article said. Marantos listed possible reasons for common tree symptoms: Yellow leaves: May be due to a lack of nutrients. A sudden jolt of fertilizer isn’t the best solution. Homeowners often remove the best fertilizer and mulch for trees — their own fallen leaves. Thinning canopies and branch die-back: May be the result of a soil-borne disease, such a phytophthora, caused by excessive water. “Homeowners have a tendency to over-irrigate a tree that’s not doing well, but soil-borne diseases actually thrive in wet soils, so that’s making things even worse,” Rolshausen said. “Trees don’t like standing water on their root systems because they can’t breathe…”

St. George, Utah, Spectrum, Feb. 28, 2020: Tree topping is ruining our shade. Watch out for unlicensed companies offering tree work

St. George is unique in the American Southwest because of our beautiful shade trees. These unsung heroes provide shade during our unbearably hot days of summer. Shade trees reduce the “heat island” effect that our streets and sidewalks produce. Trees help save energy by reducing air conditioning in the summer and wind reduction in the winter. They also increase property values and beautify our neighborhoods. When a tree is topped the tree sends out epicormic shoots or what we call water suckers. These new branches do not have strong attachments and can eventually fall from the tree. Trees cannot properly close these wounds, creating an avenue for disease to infect the tree. These issues can ultimately cause a tree to fail. Trees are highly compartmentalized organisms. This means they can contain disease and decay by growing thick cell walls around the infection. When a pruning cut is made in the proper place on a tree, the wound can heal properly. The best place to prune a branch is at the branch collar. The branch collar is a swollen area of wood near the base of the branch. When a cut is made just in front of the branch collar the wood is able to grow over the cut and compartmentalize inside the tree…

Athens, Ohio, Ohio University, February 28, 2020: Scientists show how soil changes may trigger rise of maple tree population in forests

A recent Ohio University study offers new information about how changes in the nutrient composition of the soil in forests could be leading to a rise in the maple tree population while suppressing the growth of oaks. The research has implications for forest management practices, as oak is a valuable source of timber and supports a diverse ecosystem of plants, insects and animals. “We know that over the last 30 years, the eastern deciduous forests that were once dominated by oak have been transitioning to maples,” said Jared DeForest, an associate professor in the Department of Environmental and Plant Biology at Ohio University and co-author of the study, which was published Feb. 17 in the journal New Phytologist. The scientific community has searched for an explanation, such as whether an increase in nitrogen in the soil — introduced through acid rain — could be a factor, he noted. DeForest launched an experiment in 2009 designed to simulate the impact of changing the soil nutrient composition on tree growth. Using three plots of land in southeastern Ohio — in young, middle and older age soils — scientists applied lime that elevated the pH levels (acidity) of the soil and/or added phosphate fertilizer. This created an inorganic nutrient soil system that would be similar to soil found in areas impacted by acid rain or farming, he explained…

Portland, Maine, Press-Herald, March 1, 2020: Hobbyist maple syrup producers get tapping in central Maine

Rayma Jacobs is 69 and has collected maple sap for about 30 years, a hobby she began with her father, Milton Hall. “When we had a farm, he had four maple trees and he’d do it for us kids,” she said. “We didn’t do it for years and years, and one day he decided that we should tap some trees. It’s not much of an operation.” Jacobs, who has 60 taps in Mount Vernon, describes herself as “an outdoor girl.”” I like doing it,” she said. Last week, Jacobs began collecting sap. She is one of many producers in Maine preparing for the production of one of Maine’s best-known products: Luxurious, sweet maple syrup. While larger producers often have sizable sugar houses and intricate tubing setups throughout a forest of maple trees, a number of central Mainers, like Jacobs, will collect sap by hand to produce smaller quantities for themselves, family and friends. Her setup is fairly modest: Jacobs still uses an old wood stove, built by her father, with the top cut off so it can hold a stainless steel pan. After the sap is given a long boil there, Jacobs takes what is left and uses an electric burner to finish it…

Abilene, Texas, Reporter-News, March 1, 2020: History is told through trees

Even though it may sound like I’m complaining, I’m not. I went to this kind of stuff before I had the high hour requirements that I have now, and enjoyed the chance — which I still do — to learn more about what I do for a living, and talk with other people who also work with trees. Since the Big Country is not an area that’s known as a great tree growing environment, and there are fewer than ten certified arborists in the region, as you can imagine, none of the tree-type organizations hold conferences or continuing education classes anywhere nearby. Granted, some of the things that I need continuing education unit points for aren’t done by tree groups, such as my Texas Department of Agriculture licenses — and I can do that locally — but most such events, for me, are going to be several hours away. Frankly, as much as I don’t like driving into, and/or around, the big cities, it sure beats the heck out of having to go to Austin or College Station instead (a lot of this kind of stuff is done in those two towns)…

Atlanta, Georgia, WXIA-TV, February 27, 2020: Neighbors concerned about safety after tree falls and kills woman in Buckhead

Neighbors are moving quickly to check trees around their homes in a Buckhead neighborhood after one came crashing down on New Year’s Eve, leaving a woman dead. Neighbors in the area of Ridgemore Road called tree services looking for answers on what to do with trees they considered dangerous. The concern was that these trees, if left standing, could hit their homes or their neighbors. One after another, they contacted Atlanta arborists for the okay to take down the trees they thought could fall. One after another, they got turned down. “We look at if the tree is dead; if it’s diseased or dying, and we just have to look at the entire tree – the canopy, the leaves, the trunk – and see if there are any cavities,” said David Zaparanick, arboricultural manager for the City of Atlanta Planning Department. But, if the tree is alive and well, Zaparanick said the chances are the arborists will not authorize the tree coming down. For the neighbors on Ridgemore Road, however, getting a “no” from the arborists was frustrating. Michael Milligan wants a tree down that he fears will fall on his neighbor’s house. “I am spending time, spending money, and taking time off from work to try and remove a safety threat and it may ultimately get denied, and that is frustrating,” he said…

Fort Bragg, California, Advocate-News, February 27, 2020: Tree removal part of PG&E’s public safety plans

In recent weeks, coastal communities have been the focus of multiple tree cutting services. Trucks, tree climbing equipment and the blare of chainsaws seemed to be everywhere. Contracted by PG&E, these crews have been trimming and removing trees near power lines to reduce the threat of wildfire risk. PG&E’s goal is to prune and cut along 2,498 miles of distribution lines, adding to the 2,455 miles of lines cleared last year. PG&E submitted its 2020 Wildfire Mitigation Plan to the California Public Utilities Commission on Feb. 18. The plan builds upon the energy company’s Community Wildfire Safety Program which was developed to address the growing threat of extreme weather and wildfires across Northern and Central California. Given the chaos caused by the Public Safety Power Shutoff events last fall, the company proposes changes. According to spokeswoman Deanna Contreras of PG&E, the plan “includes changes to make PSPS events smaller in scope and shorter in duration and to lessen the overall impact of shutoffs while working to keep customers and communities safe during times of severe weather and high wildfire risk…”

Vice, February 26, 2020: These Botanists Are Searching for Endangered Plants With Drones – Then Scaling Cliffs to Save Them

Adam Williams is dangling midair next to a rugged cliff in Hawaii. His life depends on the tree that his rope is tethered to yards above his head. It’s a fitting situation for Williams, a state botanist, who rappelled down the cliff to retrieve a rare plant growing on the rockface. Up above, drone specialist Ben Nyberg stands near the tree as a spotter, waiting for Williams to ascend with the Wilkesia hobdyi samples they’re after. Together, Williams and Nyberg are like the Indiana Joneses of plant conservation, leading the crusade to preserve Hawaii’s most distinct — and endangered — plants. Hawaii’s biodiversity is unique, largely because of its isolation: Nearly 90% of native plants don’t grow anywhere else in the world, according to the state’s Department of Land and Natural Resources. But that isolation has also left it vulnerable to threats like invasive species and environmental changes. So even though Hawaii makes up less than 1% of U.S. landmass, it’s now home to nearly 45% of all endangered and threatened plants in the U.S. Last year, Nyberg, the mapping and drone program coordinator National Tropical Botanical Garden, used a drone to discover a plant thought to be extinct…

Raleigh, North Carolina, WNCN-TV, February 26, 2020: Learn how the city of Raleigh responds to damaged trees on city property, and how you can, too

When trees are damaged on city property in Raleigh, who is responsible for taking care of them? That question came up after a viewer complained to CBS 17 about a dangerously damaged tree along a city street. Raleigh is the City Of Oaks, but we’ve got a lot of other kinds of trees, too, and sometimes they end up damaged and dangerous. That’s what happened to a tree in the vicinity of 6601 Pleasant Pines Drive, which was snapped in half during our recent snowstorm. The top half of the tree was dangling above the roadway — a danger to anyone passing beneath it should it let go. “We’d rather you call us and let us check it out and make a determination whether it’s on city or private property,” said Raleigh’s Urban Forestry Administrator Zach Manor. The tree was opposite a daycare center, which told me it called its private tree contractor but was told they couldn’t touch it because it was on the city right of way. When a viewer reported the situation to us, we sent an email with photographs of the scene to the city asking about it Tuesday afternoon…

Walnut Creek, California, Patch, February 26, 2020: Tree Removal, Including Oaks, Approved To Build Home

Asserting a property owner’s general right to build on his or her land, the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors this week denied appeals by two homeowners in the unincorporated community of Saranap of tree removal permits earlier granted to owners of a neighboring parcel. Twenty-two trees, most notably two large oaks neighbors wanted preserved for stabilizing a hillside and for their beauty, can come down, with the supervisors’ unanimous rejection on Tuesday of the appeal of the county Planning Commission’s recent approval of the tree removal permits. The residents and their arborists and attorneys had argued that removal of the two largest trees, in particular, would damage the sloped property they’re on, cause drainage problems, hamper neighborhood views and lower property values. In fact, neighbors said the 2,527-square-foot house planned by Tambri Heyden and David Montalbo was too tall for this neighborhood…

Washington, D.C., The Hill, February 26, 2020: Panel battles over tree-planting legislation

The House Natural Resources Committee on Wednesday juxtaposed competing visions for tackling climate change: reducing greenhouse gas emissions and planting trees to capture carbon. They panel considered a bill sponsored by Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) that aims to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions on public lands by 2040 and a bill by Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.), which seeks to plant trees to capture carbon. Grijalva, who chairs the panel, criticized Westerman’s bill, saying it would not do enough to mitigate climate change. “We must not lose focus on what the science tells us we must do to stabilize global temperatures and avoid catastrophic impacts. This will require a lot more than planting new trees,” he said. “We must dramatically reduce greenhouse gases and get to net-zero emissions as rapidly as possible…”

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, February 26, 2020: Demonstrators strike a pose to urge city to care for Winnipeg’s tree canopy

Demonstrators stood tall and struck their best yoga tree poses at Portage Place mall on Wednesday, urging the city to do more to protect Winnipeg’s urban canopy. “We’ve got trees that are over a hundred years old that are going to get cut unless they get taken care of,” said rally organizer Lisa Forbes, who is with the Glenelm Neighbourhood Association’s trees committee. The association is part of the Trees Please Coalition, which organized the Wednesday noon-hour “stand-still” event along with the community group Budget for All. “There’s no waiting for it. When they’re gone, they’re gone.” The demonstration was a reaction to repeated warnings from Winnipeg Mayor Bowman that the city’s upcoming four-year budget will present “tough choices.” During budget consultations, city staff warned of potentially deep cuts to meet spending targets set by the mayor. That’s led to fears that funding for managing the city’s tree canopy will get chopped…

Washington, D.C., U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, February 26, 2020: After a Blight, the Trees that Survived Need Your Help

Humans adores trees. But humans also migrate and trade, habits that led to the accidental introduction of insects and diseases that harm trees and alter the landscape. Examples are easy to find and may be outside your front door: American elms that once dotted streets across America succumbed to Dutch elm disease. Now all colors of ash species – black, green, white, pumpkin, and blue – are threatened by emerald ash borer. The already uncommon butternut tree, also known as white walnut, faces the possibility of extinction from a mysterious attacker.Many invasive insects and fungi come from regions where native trees have evolved to resist their attacks. When these species enter the United States, they find trees that lack this resistance. There’s no immediate end to this dismal pipeline, but there is hope on the horizon. After a pest has moved through a forest, inquisitive scientists scour the woods looking for survivors. There is a chance that no trees will survive, but those that do may be worth studying. Scientists at the USDA Forest Service’s Northern Research Station work with the agency’s Reforestation, Nurseries, and Genetics Research program, also known as RNGR. They have identified lingering green ash trees that are demonstrating resistance. So far, 16 selectively bred varieties of American elm are on the market, and scientists at the Northern Research Station are breeding trees to improve resistance even further. Resistance in butternut remains elusive, but scientists in the United States and Canada, including those at the Hardwood Tree Improvement Regeneration Center, are embarking on a new plan to help save the species. Today, the search for ash and elm trees with resistance to emerald ash borer and Dutch elm disease continues…

Allentown, Pennsylvania, Morning Call, February 25, 2020: Forest fire at popular Delaware Water Gap hiking trail 95% contained; mostly gypsy moth-infested trees burned

A forest fire burning through a popular hiking area crossed by the Appalachian Trail and a major interstate highway was almost completely contained early Tuesday, New Jersey fire officials said. The fire began Sunday afternoon on Mount Tammany, a steep, rugged area of New Jersey’s Worthington State Forest and the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area on the New Jersey-Pennsylvania border. Fire officials said about 80 acres burned overall, but no injuries were reported. Of the 80 acres burned, 78 were in the state forest and two were in the national recreation area, which is separate from the state forest, Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area spokeswoman Kathleen Sandt said. “The number of acres burned in each area may be revised after a final assessment,” Department of Environmental Protection spokesman Larry Hajna said. A cause for the fire had not been determined, officials said. Officials say it likely won’t be fully extinguished until expected rain showers pass through the area Tuesday and Wednesday that will soak any remaining hot spots. Chris Franek, the state forest fire service’s assistant division fire warden, has said fires on similar terrain usually burn upward. But he said Sunday’s fire, which started below a trail at an elevation of about 1,400 feet, burned downhill because the trail area is rocky and doesn’t have abundant vegetation…

Omaha, Nebraska, World-Telegram, February 25, 2020: What’s a ‘Tree Husker’? Students at UNL can now find out

College isn’t for everyone, but it can be for tree lovers. Students at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln can declare a new regional and community forestry major this fall. Students majoring in the program can specialize in urban forestry management and arboriculture. They will learn about tree management in rural and urban landscapes, dive deeper into tree biological systems and address natural resource challenges, such as the emerald ash borer and climate change, said Eric North, assistant professor of practice with the School of Natural Resources. The new bachelor’s degree, which will be a part of the College of Agricultural Science and Natural Resources, was approved with the unanimous vote by the Nebraska Coordinating Commission for Post-Secondary Education. Students will get to climb trees and call themselves “Tree Huskers,” he said. Before Nebraska became the state for “Cornhuskers,” he said it was known as the Tree Planter State. The old name reflected the early efforts of pioneers to plant millions of trees. “By calling themselves ‘Tree Huskers,’ they are contributing to the history of Nebraska and its agricultural system,” he said…

Los Angeles, California, La Cañada Valley Sun, February 25, 2020: City to add tree-trimming notification rules to franchise agreement with Edison

Members of the La Cañada Public Works and Traffic Commission recently considered the wisdom of revising the city’s franchise agreement with utility provider Southern California Edison to include procedures for notifying residents and officials of impending tree-trimming work. The discussion arose during a Feb. 19 meeting in which commissioners reviewed the original ordinance, signed into law on June 24, 1977. The four-page agreement makes no mention of tree trimming or providing advanced notification of work. “Is there some way to put a document together that all parties would agree to that would provide some basic conditions … not to limit Edison’s ability to maintain its facilities in a reliable way but to do it in a responsible way, so the city has notification and can work with Edison?” Commissioner Eldon Horst posed. At a Jan. 15 meeting, a group of residents spoke out against what they called Edison’s overly aggressive trimming practices. Hillard Avenue homeowner Susan Prager described a deodar cedar trimmed within an inch of its life one week earlier. “They chopped off most of the low-hanging branches of the deodars which gave the street much of its grace and beauty,” she told commissioners. “There are sickening examples all over the community…”

Denver, Colorado, KUSA-TV, February 25, 2020: Removing rat-infested trees final step to reopening Denver park

A state-owned park once infested with rats is close to reopening in Denver. “It should be in the near future,” Doug Platt, communication manager for the state Department of Personnel and Administration said of Lincoln Park. “We’re just about to the point where we think we’ve got the rodent infestation issue under control, we’re getting these trees, which are a safety issue, addressed and we’ve cleaned up the grounds.” Lincoln Park sits next to the Colorado State Capitol, across the street from Denver’s Civic Center Park. In January, the Denver Health Department shut Lincoln Park down in an emergency action, which also forced about 100 people who are experiencing homelessness to move out. “We need to completely clear the park,” Ann Cecchine-Williams with the Denver Department of Public Health & Environment told 9NEWS back in January. “We’re looking at the rats. We’re looking at animal and human waste. We are doing this because it is an egregious situation here. It is a threat to public health and safety. There’s been a rat issue here for more than just a few weeks or a few days,” Platt said Tuesday. “This has been ongoing for actually a number of years.” He said the rats are the reason the two trees need to be removed. “What we’ve observed, and we’ve had an exterminator come out and check the area, but they basically burrow into and underneath the root system of the tree and then they dig up into and under the tree,” Platt said. “Essentially, it ends up killing the tree from the inside out…”

Stanford, Connecticut, Advocate, February 24, 2020: Eversource $83M trimming program to face ‘crisis’ of dead, hazardous trees

Eversource has announced a $83 million tree-trimming program to deal with “the ongoing crisis of dead, dying and hazardous trees continues to plague communities across Connecticut and threaten electric reliability.” The energy company’s comprehensive tree maintenance program is already underway along roads in several communities around the state in an effort to fortify the electric distribution system and enhance reliability for customers. Eversource will be trimming trees along more than 4,200 miles of roadside overhead distribution lines around the state. Among the 131 communities where tree trimming will be performed this year, some of the most extensive work is scheduled to be done in Waterbury along nearly 170 miles of city streets. Trees will also be trimmed along 124 miles of roads in Greenwich, 107 miles in Woodbury, 105 miles in New Milford and 101 miles in Westport. Other communities where tree work will be completed include Torrington, Stamford, Middletown, Washington and Wolcott…

Mining Technology, February 24, 2020: Tree Guards

When establishing trees, the first two years are of crucial importance to the longevity and success of the project. Tree guards are vital during this establishment phase, ensuring the plant has the best chance of survival, under harsh Australian conditions. Tree guard products achieve this by providing shelter for the young plant, by means of extra shade from extreme heat, protection from strong wind, and reprieve from frost. Tree guard products also protect the plant by creating a physical barrier between the plant and browsing animals. Tree guards also aid in the ongoing maintenance of a planting project by protecting the plant from spray drift during weed control programs and serving as a marker for watering and monitoring purposes. Tree guards are easy to install and come in a range of sizes and materials. The most basic is the two-litre milk carton guard. This product is the quickest to install and most budget-friendly option, making it a popular choice for large scale revegetation projects. The corflute guard is a much larger and more robust product, made from UV stabilised, corflute plastic. This style of guard will not only protect the growing plant but improve growth rates by providing shelter from weather extremes and preventing evaporation…

Phys.org, February 24, 2020: Forest duff must be considered in controlled burning to avoid damaging trees

Many decades of forest fire prevention and suppression has resulted in a thick buildup of organic matter on the forest floor in many regions of the United States, according to a Penn State researcher, whose new study suggests that the peculiar way that these layers burn should be considered in plans for controlled burns. In both the eastern and western U.S., one of the consequences of avoiding fires for so long in fire-adapted pine forests is the build-up of forest floor”duff”—a deep, dense layer of partially decomposed pine needles—that would otherwise not accumulate under a frequent fire regime, explained Jesse Kreye, assistant research professor of fire and natural resources management in the College of Agricultural Sciences. That accumulation of organic debris can complicate efforts to use prescribed fire as a forest management tool, he explained, and this buildup of duff, particularly pronounced at the base of pines, is problematic if there is a wildfire…

Fargo, North Dakota KVRR-TV, February 24, 2020: Fargo city commissioners discuss proposed tree ordinances

Fargo’s forestry department is hoping to implement ordinances for preserving and protecting trees across the city. During a meeting with the mayor, they talked about the progress that’s been made and what the next steps are for the ordinances. Since October, two task forces have been created to help implement tree protection guidelines. A draft of the ordinance includes whether private property trees should be included in the guidelines and incorporating specific construction standards for tree removal. “I’ve got a great team of individuals that are working through this, and it’s going to take us a little more time but I think in the end we’ll have several different documents and direction on where to go,” says City Forester Scott Liudahl…

San Francisco, California Chronicle, February 23, 2020: If accidental fire damages someone else’s trees, owner escapes responsibility

A 19th century California law providing double or triple damages for destroying trees or timber on someone else’s property does not apply to fires started by accident, the state Supreme Court has ruled. The law, enacted in 1872, applies to “wrongful injuries to timber, trees or underwood upon the land of another, or removal thereof.” It provides triple damages for harm caused by a deliberate entry onto another person’s property, and double damages “where the trespass was casual or involuntary.” And it allows lawsuits up to five years after the damage occurred, compared with three years for ordinary negligence suits. The law was invoked by a Colusa County resident, Vincent Scholes, whose trees were damaged by a fire in May 2007 that started on neighboring land owned by Lambirth Trucking Co. Scholes said a grinder operated by the company spewed out wood chips and rice hulls that blew onto his property and spread the fire to his trees…

Bowling Green, Kentucky, Daily News, February 23, 2020: Kentuckians plant trees to heal mine-devastated mountaintops

It looked like a scene of wanton destruction on federal land under the watchful eye of a U.S. forester. Two bulldozers plowed up and down a hillside, pushing over anything in their path. Shrubs and small trees snapped under the dozers’ force like kindling. On the barren ground where the machines had been, December rain pooled in muddy tire tracks. A single young oak that had been spared seemed, if anything, to accent the mayhem. “You folks have boots? Want to get muddy?” That was Patrick Angel, leader of this tour. Angel is a scientist who has made his career with the U.S. Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, a little-celebrated unit in the Department of the Interior. For 25 years, he oversaw the process that may represent humans’ best attempt at total annihilation of land: strip mining and mountaintop-removal mining of coal. He told coal companies to do one thing when they were done with a site: Pack the remaining rubble as tightly as possible, and plant grass – the only type of plant he trusted to hold the ground in place. Then, in 2002, Angel realized something was wrong. The big, productive, life-nurturing forests of Appalachia weren’t just slow to come back; they weren’t coming back, period. Nearly 1.5 million acres, an area larger than Delaware, that should have had trees were little more than weedy fields. It was an ecological disaster, and Angel helped create it. “There is a tremendous amount of guilt,” he said…

Greeneville, South Carolina, News, February 19, 2020: ‘An ecological deadzone’: A Clemson professor wants to get rid of Bradford Pear Trees

A university professor wants to rid Clemson of Bradford Pear Trees, an invasive species that’s spread throughout the entire Upstate and most states east of the Mississippi. David Coyle, assistant professor of forest health and invasive species, is spearheading the Bradford Pear Bounty in partnership with the SC Forestry Commission and City of Clemson to replace hundreds of Bradford Pear Trees with native tree species in the Clemson area. Pre-registration is required and availability is limited to five trees per person and 400 trees total. The event will take place on Saturday, Feb. 29 in Nettles Park. Standing in the middle of a mud-drenched, three-acre field covered in dark, skeletal trees, Coyle explained the problem. The trees are Callery Pears, the wild version of Bradford Pear Tree. “It creates an ecological deadzone,” Coyle explained. “Even the grass is gone.” Ironically, the field, located in Pendleton, SC, sits next to a cemetery. The hardwood trees can grow up to 60 feet tall in thick copses and develop wicked-sharp thorns. Flora and fauna stay away from the copses – caterpillars don’t eat the leaves and the only birds who eat the fruit are starlings, Coyle said. The densely packed tree trunks block sunlight, making it near impossible for other vegetation to grow alongside it…

Las Cruces, New Mexico, Sun, February 23, 2020: When to prune trees in New Mexico

Question: When is the right time to prune ornamental and fruit trees?
Answer: Well, you’re not going to be surprised at this answer: It just depends. What are your reasons for pruning? Are your trees grown for their beautiful blooms? If so, do they bloom before leaves start to appear? Trees like redbuds and crabapples and shrubs like lilac and forsythia flower before they leaf out, and that’s a clue that the flowers emerge from buds growing on older growth. If you prune too much you’ll lose out on this season’s flush of color. It makes more sense to prune those just after they’ve bloomed. On the other hand, if you’re wanting to reduce the growth of a young tree because branches are getting awfully close to your gutter, pruning midsummer might make more sense than pruning in late February. As Ed Gilman explains in his wonderful book “An Illustrated Guide to Pruning:” “To retard growth and for a maximum dwarfing effect on all trees, prune just after each growth flush, when the leaves have fully expanded and turned dark green. Pruning at this time theoretically slows growth by reducing photosynthetic capacity and energy-storing wood (sapwood), which causes a dwarfing effect. Only healthy, vigorous, young or medium-aged trees should be pruned using this strategy. Pruning live branches from unhealthy old trees, including those impacted by construction activities, at a time of low energy reserves, during or just after the growth flush, could deplete them further of much-needed energy reserves and energy-producing tissue (i.e., leaves)…”

Palm Beach, Florida, Post, February 20, 2020: Goats chew their way through invasive Brazilian pepper trees in Indian River County

How do Brazilian pepper tree leaves taste? Not “ba-a-a-a-ad,” say goats blissfully munching on sprigs of the invasive plant. “They love this stuff,” said Steven Slatem of Melbourne, founder and chief executive manager of Invasive Plant Eradicators, as he chopped down a pepper tree limb with a machete and gave it to waiting goats. “It’s their favorite.” His company has a $24,000 contract with Indian River County to use his goats to help clear invasive plants, pepper trees in particular. Among the many benefits, it cuts down on the use of chemical weed killers that can pollute water and harm the environment. St. Lucie County is watching to see if goats are a good alternative before considering whether to follow suit, and Martin County is concerned about goats eating native plants. Indian River County has the goats working on two conservation areas: South Prong Slough west of Wabasso and Cypress Bend Community Preserve near Roseland. Both are former groves where invasive plants are replacing citrus trees faster than native species such as oak, maple, cypress and sabal palm trees can grow. The pepper trees are a scourge on Florida’s environment, pushing out native species on over 700,00 acres throughout the state, including sensitive habitats such as mangrove swamps along Everglades marshes and the Indian River Lagoon…

Phys.org, February 20, 2020: Over 100 eucalypt tree species newly recommended for threatened listing

The Threatened Species Recovery Hub has undertaken a conservation assessment of every Australian eucalypt tree species and found that over 190 species meet internationally recognised criteria for listing as threatened: most of these are not currently listed as threatened. Associate Professor Rod Fensham at the University of Queensland said the team assessed all 822 Australian eucalypt species against the criteria set by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened SpeciesTM. The results have just been published in the scientific journal Biological Conservation. “Our assessment found that 193 species, which is almost one quarter (23%) of all Australian eucalypt species, meet criteria for a threatened status of Vulnerable, Endangered or Critically Endangered,” said Associate Professor Fensham. “This is very concerning as eucalypts are arguably Australia’s most important plant group, and provide vital habitat to thousands of other species. Less than one third (62) of the species that we identified are currently listed as threatened under Australian environmental law, and less than half (87) are listed under state and territory laws…

Stamford, Connecticut, Advocate, February 20, 2020: Tree removal along Connecticut highways unsightly, but necessary, DOT says

Those traveling along Route 9 in Cromwell may have been surprised to see hundreds of cut trees, including some healthy specimens, lying along both sides of the highway and wondered what work the state is conducting there. In the Middletown / Cromwell area, work is being performed near exits 19 (Route 372 / West Street) and 20 in Cromwell (which leads to Interstate 91 north and south). Thirty feet of clearance on both shoulders is the minimum requirement, which is standard across the country, according to Kevin Nursick, spokesman for the Connecticut Department of Transportation. The statewide project is estimated at $40 million, and will continue for the next four to five years, he said. Routine maintenance — for safety as well as operational efficiency — stepped up recently after the state provided more funding. For decades, lack of adequate financial support prevented much of the tree work from progressing, Nursick said. “We’re playing a lot of catch-up at this point.” Not only could the public be endangered, but road crews, as well. Nursick acknowledged the view of hundreds of felled dead and decaying trees is an unsightly one. “It’s a big issue. We’ve been all over the map in Connecticut. You could throw a dart, and we’ve probably been there or we’re going to be there,” Nursick explained. During that process, wood chips abound. “It doesn’t really look good, and I don’t think anybody is going to disagree with that,” Nursick said…

Chicago, Illinois, WLS-TV, February 20, 2020: Chicago Water Dept. tests tree-saving technology in Andersonville

More than a dozen trees in Andersonville are saved, thanks to a new pilot program the city of Chicago’s Water Department is implementing. “These mature trees are one of the most valuable things that we have to keep us healthy,” said Lesley Ames, Andersonville tree committee member. Last year, the water department was scheduled to complete routine sewage maintenance and drain removal. To do that, they’d have to cut down trees around the neighborhood, some of them more than 100 years old. “It seemed to us to be an abnormal number of trees,” Tamara Schiller said. Schiller is also a member of the tree committee and has lived in the neighborhood for more than 30 years. “There were ten trees alone on my block, so we started looking into it and said, ‘Isn’t there something else that could be done?'” Schiller said. “The more people found out about it, the more people came out into the street and wanted to find out what was going on,” Ames added. People like Ames and Schiller talked to their neighbors, their alderman and the water department to find an alternative. After months of back and forth, they found one: a CIPP or cured-in-place-pipe. “This pilot program is actually going to give us an opportunity to come up with new technology to allow us to not remove all the trees,” Water Department Commissioner, Randy Conner said…

New York City, Wall Street Journal, February 19, 2020: Federal Judge Slams PG&E Efforts to Trim Trees Near Power Lines to Prevent Wildfires

A federal judge on Wednesday lambasted PG&E Corp. PCG 8.83% for falling behind on efforts to trim trees near power lines, which are designed to reduce the risk that its equipment will spark more California wildfires. U.S. District Judge William Alsup, who oversees PG&E’s criminal probation following its conviction of safety violations after a natural-gas pipeline exploded and killed eight people in 2010, said during a heated hearing that the company is once again in violation of that probation due to its handling of the fire threat. But he stopped short of imposing a new restriction he has warned he might decide to place on PG&E—forcing the company to tie an executive bonus program entirely to safety goals. Judge Alsup said he would make that decision at a later date. “I’m going to do everything I can to protect the people of California from more death and destruction from this convicted felon,” the judge said. PG&E sought federal bankruptcy protection last year, citing more than $30 billion in liability costs tied to a series of deadly wildfires in 2017 and 2018 that killed more than 100 people. It has so far agreed to pay more than $25 billion to settle claims from fire victims, insurers and local governments and agencies…

Detroit, Michigan, WDIV-TV, February 19, 2020: Developer takes city of Taylor to court after fines for removing trees without permit climb to $160K

A case involving vacant land in Taylor and the city is heading to federal court after a developer was fined thousands for removing trees without a permit. Murray Wikol owns a parcel of land at Superior and Pardee roads. He was working on developing the space. “We were cleaning up trees, refrigerators dumped there, dead trees, diseased trees, good forestry practice done by an arborist, and we went out and did the right thing and left 155 trees,” Wikol said. However, Wikol didn’t have a permit to remove the trees. He was fined $133,000. With interest, the amount reached more than $160,000. When he refused to pay the fines, the city put the property in foreclosure. Wikol called the city’s actions oppressive. “Selective enforcement — there’s a lot of other sites where hundreds, if not thousands of trees, are being cut down, and they just are allowing it in certain areas and not in others,” he said. Wikol pointed out a space at Inkster and Eureka roads where a developer was removing trees without a permit in 2017. He said that developer received a $250 fine, and there was no listing of how many trees were taken down…

Charleston, South Carolina, Post & Courier, February 19, 2020: Whether to cut SC beach town’s trees will go to trial, judge rules

How short trees must be trimmed to restore the ocean views of beachfront owners on Sullivan’s Island will go back to trial, the S.C. Supreme Court has ruled. That could bring out the shears again on the 100-acre maritime forest that has become a scenic controversy in this reserved upscale community. And it all comes down to Hurricane Hugo 30 years ago. The court ruled Wednesday that a 1991 deed the town executed with more than 80 property owners along the dunes obligated the town to maintain their ocean views, but didn’t specify just how high or low vegetation must be cut to do it. The deeds were signed in the aftermath of Hugo as the town bought properties that had formed in front of the owners from piled-up shore-flow sand. The west end of the island, near Charleston Harbor, accretes sand diverted by the shipping channel jetties. Those dunes have now grown into a forest. The town wanted the dunes strong, to stave off devastation by another storm like Hugo. The owners wanted views. Nobody really anticipated getting lost in the woods…

Dallas, Texas, KXAS-TV, February 19, 2020: ‘Unhealthy, Damaged’ Trees Removed Along White Rock Creek, City Says; Others Cast Doubt

Dozens of trees have been cut down along the banks of White Rock Creek in recent days. Work continued Wednesday near the Cottonwood Trail, with workers using chainsaws and heavy equipment to remove the trees. Some of the trees were visibly damaged by the high winds of the EF-3 tornado that sliced a path through the area in October, but local environmentalists worry healthy trees are being cut as well. “I was shocked because I didn’t realize it was as thoroughly cleared as I had heard about,” Becky Rader, a former Dallas Park Board member said. The Dallas Park and Recreation Department issued the following statement Wednesday. In the aftermath of the October 2019 tornado and subsequent storms that heavily damaged city parks and trails including Cottonwood Trail, Dallas Park and Recreation Department authorized a contractor to remove severely damaged and downed trees on park-owned property. The work plan presented to the contractor stressed the removal of unhealthy, dying and storm-ravished trees…

Los Angeles, California, Times, February 18, 2020: In the Noah’s Ark of citrus, caretakers try to stave off a fruit apocalypse

It has been described as a Noah’s Ark for citrus: two of every kind. Spread over 22 acres, UC Riverside’s 113-year-old Givaudan Citrus Variety Collection was founded as a place to gather and study as many citrus specimens as possible — right now, the inventory numbers at over 1,000. It’s an open-air temple where innovations in irrigation, fertilization, pest control, breeding and more have allowed California’s iconic $7-billion citrus industry to thrive for over a century. When the trees blossom, or hang heavy with fruit of almost every conceivable shape and color — orange and yellow and purple; as small as a pinky nail or as large and gnarled as Grandpa’s hand — a stroll through the collection’s immaculately manicured orchards is downright heavenly. But now, an apocalypse is nigh. A bacterial infection known as citrus greening, or Huanglongbing, transmitted by the moth-like Asian citrus psyllid, has upended the agricultural world. It’s harmless to humans, but reduces trees to withered, discolored shells of their former selves that produce inedible, immature fruit…

Roanoke, Virginia, WDBJ-TV, February 18, 2020: High winds damage Virginia’s largest and tallest corkscrew willow tree

The recent high winds we’ve seen have damaged Virginia’s oldest and largest corkscrew willow tree. It sits along the Dora Trail in Pulaski. Arborists estimate it’s about 150 years old, which is very unusual for this type of tree. Typically, they only live about 50 years. Unlike your usual willow tree, its branches grow up in a corkscrew pattern instead of drooping down. Mayor David Clark said high winds upwards of 60 to 80 miles per hour caused two limbs to fall off. “Before anyone called me, I had seen it driving by. As hard as we’ve worked to try to preserve it, it made me very sad to see it fall,” Clark said. “A tree of this age is not as strong as it was once. The wind just took those out. The other parts seem to be stable for now…”

Fox News, February 18, 2020: Perfectly preserved 6,000-year-old leaf that fell from elm tree discovered by archaeologists

A leaf that fell from an elm tree more than 6,000 years ago was discovered intact by archaeologists in the United Kingdom. Scientists found the leaf — along with a selection of Stone Age tools and pottery — when they were clearing a piece of land outside of Blackpool along the coast of northern England. Lead archaeologist Fraser Brown told The Daily Mail that the finds were of national significance. “We have found extensive deposits of peat and marine clays which have helped preserve ancient plant remains and which yield information on the local vegetation, water, climate, and human activity,” he explained to the British publication…

Boise, Idaho, Post-Register, February 19, 2020: How to prune shade and evergreen trees

Question: I enjoyed your article about pruning fruit trees. Are other trees also pruned like fruit trees? Could you explain the differences?
Answer: There are some similarities, but also a lot of differences in pruning shade trees and evergreens. Other trees need a lot less pruning than fruit trees. Young trees need some help in developing major scaffold branches. The main job is to remove branches with narrow angles between the branch and the trunk. These narrow crotch angle branches are weak and are the first ones to break in a storm. I also like to leave branches on the lower part of the trunk temporarily. They supply food that increases the growth of the trunk diameter. I shorten these branches to about 6 to 12 inches and allow tufts of growth for the first two to three years. I then prune them back even with the trunk. Removing upright growing branches (water sprouts) is a good practice with most trees. Trees that naturally have upright growth of all branches should be allowed to develop naturally. There is no need to thin side branches the way we do with fruit trees. I usually remove a few branches that grow toward the center of the tree. I also remove some crossing branches unless the normal growth pattern is thick inner branch growth. It is never a good idea to shorten the height of shade and evergreen trees. Occasionally branches that are growing toward structures are removed. In this case, it is usually best to remove the entire branch back to its origin. Pruning around utility lines is dangerous and is best left to professionals. If a tree becomes too large for the area where it is planted, the best practice is to remove it and plant a smaller tree…

Nashville, Tennessee, WSMV-TV, February 18, 2020: Tree hazards to watch out for after a storm

Strong storms are notorious for causing tree damage throughout Middle Tennessee. After the initial damage is cleared, it’s time to take a closer look at surviving trees to see if there is any long-lasting damage that could cause long-term problems. Rob Kraker is an arborist with Davey Tree Expert Company. He says it’s important to keep an eye on the health of trees, especially ones around your home, sidewalks or roadways. “You wanna look for any cracking or any decaying,” says Kraker. “We also look for any mushroom growth or fractures in the roots. These are basically like the I-65 for all the nutrients for the tree.” Another very evident sign that you could have a dying tree, is large dead limbs. But not all dead limbs mean something is wrong. They have to be larger than an inch or two in diameter. “The little ones, those are not something to be worried about,” says Kraker. “It’s the ones that could potentially hurt you if you’re mowing the grass or where kids are playing.” If you’ve noticed any of these on your trees, you should call a certified arborist to come take a look. An initial consultation by Davey Tree is completely free of charge and could save you a lot of money and stress in the long run. Many times, there are steps you can take to nurse your trees back to health…

Boston, Massachusetts, WGBH-TV, February 17, 2020: Warm Winters Threaten Nut Trees. Can Science Help Them Chill Out?

In love, timing is everything, the saying goes. The same is true for fruit and nut orchards in California’s Central Valley, which depend on a synchronized springtime bloom for pollination. But as winters warm with climate change, that seasonal cycle is being thrown off. Cold is a crucial ingredient for California’s walnuts, cherries, peaches, pears and pistachios, which ultimately head to store shelves around the country. The state grows around 99% of the country’s walnut and pistachio crop. Over the winter, the trees are bare and dormant, essentially snoozing until they wake up for a key reproductive rite. “In the pistachios, the females need to be pollinated by the males trees,” says Jonathan Battig, farm manager for Strain Farming Company in Arbuckle, Calif. “Ideally, you’d like the males to be pushing out the pollen as the females are receptive.” In Battig’s orchard, one male tree is planted for every 20 female trees, though an untrained eye couldn’t tell them apart. “I know by just looking at them,” says Battig. “The buds on the males are usually more swollen.” In March or April, if all goes well, both trees will bloom so the wind carries the male trees’ pollen to the females. “For that to happen, the timing needs to line up pretty close,” he says. But several times in the last decade, that timing has been out of sync…

New York City, Wall Street Journal, February 14, 2020: We’re From the Government and We’re Here to Build a Bike Path

A handful of farmers in Ohio’s Mahoning County are getting an unpleasant lesson in government power at the hands of a local park district. Mill Creek MetroParks, a public agency governed by five unelected commissioners, wants to take over an abandoned railroad line running through about a dozen local farms for a recreational bike path. Last year, when landowners balked at the idea of strangers wandering across their properties, the park district decided to invoke eminent domain and gain right of way. “I asked the park representatives if there was any way we could negotiate on this, and they told me, ‘The time for talking is over. We’re taking this property,’ ” says Ohio state Rep. Don Manning, who tried to intervene on the farmers’ behalf. Rep. Manning, a Republican, has sponsored legislation that would limit the use of eminent domain in Ohio. The practice of government taking land for recreational uses—typically bike lanes, hiking paths and fashionable “rail trails” and “greenways”—is spreading across the country, marking a sharp and troubling expansion of eminent domain. The Takings Clause of the Constitution’s Fifth Amendment grants government the authority to seize property to be used for the public good, as long as government pays “just compensation” to the owner. Over the years, the Supreme Court has consistently expanded what is considered a “public good” to justify government seizures. In 2005, for instance, the high court upheld the taking of Susette Kelo’s waterfront home by the city of New London, Conn., so that a local development corporation could build high-end condos and a hotel. The redevelopment was intended to boost property values and increase municipal tax revenues…

Science Daily, February 13, 2020: Nitrogen-fixing trees help tropical forests grow faster and store more carbon

Tropical forests are allies in the fight against climate change. Growing trees absorb carbon emissions and store them as woody biomass. As a result, reforestation of land once cleared for logging, mining, and agriculture is seen as a powerful tool for locking up large amounts of carbon emissions throughout the South American tropics. But new research published in Nature Communications shows that the ability of tropical forests to lock up carbon depends upon a group of trees that possess a unique talent — the ability to fix nitrogen from the atmosphere. The study modeled how the mix of tree species growing in a tropical forest following a disturbance, such as clearcutting, can affect the forest’s ability to sequester carbon. The team found that the presence of trees that fix nitrogen could double the amount of carbon a forest stores in its first 30 years of regrowth. At maturity, forests with nitrogen fixation took up 10% more carbon than forests without…

San Francisco, California, Chronicle, February 13, 2020: PG&E resists judge’s tree-trimming, executive bonus proposals

Forcing Pacific Gas and Electric Co. to hire its own tree-trimming workforce, instead of relying on contractors to keep vegetation away from power lines, would not have the fire-safety benefits envisioned by a federal judge or alleviate the need for fire-prevention blackouts, attorneys for the utility say. PG&E lawyers have also pushed back on a proposal from U.S. District Judge William Alsup to prevent the company from awarding any bonuses to executives or managers unless it fulfills certain fire safety goals. The restriction would intrude on the purview of state regulators and PG&E’s bankruptcy judge, attorneys said. PG&E’s filing came in response to two recent proposals from Alsup, who is overseeing the company’s probation arising from the 2010 San Bruno pipeline explosion and has taken a strong interest in the company’s wildfire problems. Alsup in January said he might impose the tree-trimmer requirement after the company admitted it fell short on some parts of its state-mandated fire-prevention plan last year. One week later, Alsup proposed tying “all bonuses and other incentives for supervisors and above” to PG&E’s fulfillment of its state fire plan “and other safety goals…”

Cleveland, Ohio, Plain Dealer, February 13, 2020: Suspicious ‘tree crew’ questioned about ties to recent burglary: Orange Police Blotter

When two men came to her door at about 1:30 p.m. Feb. 8 to look at trees to trim, a resident, 84, became suspicious and called police. The cops had their concerns as well, since the crew somewhat matched the descriptions of suspects in a Jan. 22 burglary in which a couple in their 90s had two rings valued at over $22,000 stolen by two men who had come inside under the guise of borrowing buckets of water. Suspects with similar descriptions have also posed as utility workers in order to gain entry into roughly five homes in and around Cuyahoga County, and police in those communities were also contacted. But the man who had his wife’s rings stolen in January could not make a positive identification. Questioned was a Columbus man, 54, who was driving a truck when Orange police arrived, along with a New Carlisle man, 32, walking around the side of the woman’s house. He had active warrants in Strongsville and Butler County near Cincinnati…

Austin, Texas, KVUE-TV, February 13, 2020: 2011 Bastrop County wildfire: $5M settlement reached in case against tree company

A $5 million settlement has been reached after a tree-trimming company was accused of causing the 2011 Complex fire in Bastrop, the most destructive wildfire in Texas history. Bastrop County, Bastrop ISD, Smithville ISD and Bastrop County Emergency Services District No. 2 filed the suit in 2018 against the Asplundh Tree Expert Company for allegedly diverting crews away from a tree-trimming operation along Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative power lines. Drought conditions caused dry vegetation around the Bluebonnet lines, igniting the fires when trees fell on the power lines on Sept. 4, 2011. According to our partners at The Austin-American Statesman, the government’s attorney argued the fire had three starting points – along Schwantz Ranch Road west of Texas 21, in Circle D Ranch and Tahitian Village. The fire killed two people and burned for a month, destroying 34,000 acres and 1,700 homes. The destruction cut off five years of property tax revenue for the county, school districts and emergency services…

Oakland, California, East Bay Times, February 13, 2020: How to know when a tree must go — from a landscape pro

If a tree falls in the forest, and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? I have no idea. I leave that question to the philosophers and physicists. But I do know that if a tree in your yard falls on your house while you’re in it, you darn well will hear it. The sound will make your heart jump from your chest like the creature in “Alien” — and your emergency savings fund will disappear faster than a puff of pollen. That scenario was precisely the one I chose to avoid when I had the old water oak tree removed from my yard this week. The old oak was nearing the end of her years, two arborists told me. Hurricanes had damaged her once regal crown. Now, where branches had once been, open cavities pocked the trunk, opening doors for decay. “We won’t know till we get up there how bad it is, but I can tell you she’s compromised,” says Alec Lantagne, a certified arborist and partner at Central Florida’s Sunbelt Tree Service. He pointed to a section of root that was beginning to lift. “This indicates instability…”

Seattle, Washington, Times, February 12, 2020: ‘They are my family’: Stolen bonsai trees mysteriously returned to Federal Way museum

These weren’t just tiny little trees, perched in dirt and presented in pretty ceramic bowls. The two bonsai trees were family members; sturdy, sage stalwarts at the Pacific Bonsai Museum in Federal Way, where they were carefully tended to for decades. So when the trees “mysteriously returned” to the museum grounds Tuesday night after being stolen last weekend, well, people wept with relief. “These trees matter,” Kathy McCabe, the museum’s executive director, said Wednesday. “They are treasures. They have such deep history. “I’m going to cry. It makes me emotional.” The trees — a Japanese black pine and a silverberry, each worth thousands of dollars — were stolen from the museum’s public display at about 7 a.m. Sunday. Security cameras captured two people crawling under the museum’s fence. It wasn’t clear what they had taken until assistant curator Scarlet Gore came around a corner a few hours later and saw the trees were gone. Word of the theft — a kidnapping, really, for some people — spread quickly. The museum’s Facebook post about it was shared 3,000 times and reached 350,000 people. The New York Times called. So did NPR and CNN…

Charlotte, North Carolina, WCNC-TV, February 11, 2020: What should you do about fallen trees after a storm?

Last week’s storms brought down trees all across the Charlotte area. WCNC Charlotte Meteorologist Iisha Scott spoke to an expert on ways you can be prepared ahead of the next storm. An Allstate agent gave this advice: • Make sure you’re getting all trees trimmed and don’t forget your regular maintenance; • Keep an eye on older trees because they fall easily; • Make sure you have proper insurance coverage and an adequate amount of coverage. And while storms bring out a sense of community, they also bring out scammers. The North Carolina’s Attorney Generals’ office wants to remind you to: • Get a written contract that lists all the work to be performed, its costs and completion date; • Make sure the company is insured. You can contact the insurer directly; • Don’t pay upfront…

House Beautiful, February 12, 2020: These Gorgeous Eucalyptus Trees Create a Rainbow Effect as Bark Peels

At first glance, you might just think someone got a little carried away and paintedthose tree barks. Reasonable guess, but what if I told you that those colorful streaks formed naturally? And that these colorful trees are actually real!? Not all bark is brown, my friends, and these multi-colored timbers are here to prove it! Eucalyptus deglupta trees, also known as “rainbow trees” or “Mindanao gum trees,” are tropical evergreens known for their colorful, rainbow-like bark. Every season, these trees shed their old rinds, revealing a new variegated layer of oranges, blues, and greens. It’s magical, not to mention beautiful, especially since the tree’s shelling will never look exactly the same over the years. The large evergreens (which can grow up to 250 feet tall) commonly grow in tropical forests in the Philippines, New Guinea, and Indonesia where sunlight and rainfall are ample. However, they can grow in certain parts of the United States with similar conditions, too. Eucalyptus deglupta trees have been spotted in Hawaii and the southern parts of California, Texas, and Florida. However, as the U.S., is not the tree’s native environment (and the ones here were planted by seeds brought from other parts of the world), they typically only reach heights of 100 to 125 feet…

Syracuse, New York, Post-Gazette, February 12, 2020: Syracuse plans to turn down city heat by planting 70,000 trees

Syracuse is trying to ease the impacts of two of the nation’s biggest problems – income inequality and climate change – through a simple idea: Planting trees. Lots of trees. The city today is releasing an ambitious urban forestry master plan that calls for planting 70,000 trees over 20 years. That would increase the land area covered by tree leaves by more than 1,600 acres, resulting in a third of the city draped in shade. “Urban forests are our first line of defense in a hotter, more unpredictable climate,” says the city’s draft plan. “They function as an outdoor air conditioner and filter, water control system, wind barrier, anger and mood management program, beautification initiative, and even sunblock.” Syracuse and New York state are getting warmer. A Syracuse.com review of climate data shows the city’s normal temperature is 1 degree higher than it was from the 1950s through the 1970s. A 2015 study by several New York state agencies said New York state has warmed 2.4 degrees since 1970…

San Diego, California, San Diego Reader, February 11, 2020: Not wanted in Oceanside – more palm trees

Enough with the palm trees already! Joan Bockman is known to many locals as Oceanside’s unofficial Johnny Appleseed for native plants. She celebrates and encourages homeowners who introduce cottonwood or desert willow trees in their front yard. The former planning commissioner recently chastised the Oceanside city council for approving a new mixed-use downtown project that she says relies too much on Oceanside’s omnipresent invasive plant, the palm tree. “There are thousands of palms west of I-5, and more are being planted all the time,” says Bockman. ”I ask the city to adopt a proclamation of ‘No new palms.’ This means that for any palm planted, a similar one has to be removed.” Oceanside’s own tree census shows there are some 5,000 palm trees planted along Coast Highway, the beach-adjacent Pacific Street and on adjoining side streets. Those tall and skinny Mexican fan palms have been Oceanside’s iconic trademark…

Phys.org, February 11, 2020: Climate warming disrupts tree seed production

Research involving the University of Liverpool has revealed the effect of climate warming on the complex interactions between beech trees and the insects that eat their seeds. Masting, the process by which trees vary the amount of seeds they produce year by year, is a characteristic of many forest tree species, including oaks, beeches, pines and spruces. It is beneficial to the trees because during “famine years,” seed-eating animals (such as moths) are starved so their numbers decrease, while in the “bumper years,” seed production is so high that it satiates insects and seed predators, so that some seeds can survive to establish the next generation of trees. However, a study of beech tree seed production published in the journal Nature Plants, found that increased seed production due to warmer temperatures was accompanied by a reduction in the degree of year-to-year variability in seed production, and specifically a reduction in the frequency of the “famine years.” Thus, the main beneficiaries of climate-driven increases in seed production are seed predators, and not the plants themselves…

Futurity, February 11, 2020: City ‘Heat Islands’ Trick Trees Into Thinking It’s Spring

It’s a symptom of the way cities trap heat, researchers say. The findings have ramifications for people with allergies and anyone interested in the ecological impact of climate change, says Yuyu Zhou, an associate professor of geological and atmospheric sciences at Iowa State University and a coauthor of the study in PNAS. Researchers examined satellite images of 85 large cities in the US from 2001 to 2014, which allowed them to detect changes in greenness of plants and determine the timing when plants start to grow in spring. The data show the start of the season arrived on average six days earlier in the studied cities than surrounding rural areas due to the heat island effect. Little research has investigated the connection between the heat island effect and phenology, or the study of cyclical and seasonal natural phenomena, Zhou says, adding this kind of information will become increasingly important as scientists attempt to predict how plants will respond to changing environmental conditions, including climate change and urbanization. “In the future, we want to have more accuracy in our Earth system models to predict changes in our environment. Taking into account the interactions between temperature and phenological change in vegetation will mean those model predictions will improve,” Zhou says…

Salem, Oregon, Statesman-Journal, February 10, 2020: Sick of paying for plants, ferns and trees? In Oregon forests, they’re free with a permit

Few places are as dangerous as Oregon’s garden shops and nurseries. You walk in planning to purchase a bag of potting soil and, bewitched by green magic, walk out carrying a pear tree, blueberry bush, hydrangea hedge, carrot seeds, soaker hose and a new line of credit. Oregon is a resplendent place to grow all manner of fruit and fern, tree and root. But the price of plants often wallops the pocketbook. That’s why I was so excited about a program in Oregon’s national forests that allows you to get a surprising number of ferns, plants and even tree seedlings from the forest — all for free. With a permit, map and shovel, you’re allowed to transplant plants from the forest to your garden. Not only can it save money, but it makes for a fun outdoor adventure — it’s hunting, except for ferns. “I don’t think many people are aware of it,” said Courtney Schreiber, resource specialist with Siuslaw National Forest. “But it’s great program and open to everybody.” Officially, it’s called a “forest products free use permit.” You can get them at most national forest offices, such as Detroit Ranger District station east of Salem in the Willamette National Forest…

Daytona Beach, Florida, WESH-TV, February 10, 2020: Massive tree falls on DeBary home in apparent landscaping mishap

A large tree fell on a home in DeBary on Monday in what appeared to be some type of landscaping mishap. The tree fell on a house on Gardenia Street. A mother was in the bedroom where the tree crashed through and had just put her young daughter down for nap. No injuries were reported, but the residents have a big cleanup ahead of them. Relatives told WESH 2 News the mother had just put the child down for a nap in her own room, and laid down in the master bedroom when the ceiling literally exploded. Aerial video from Chopper 2 showed that work was underway on land next door to the house. A piece of machinery was next to the trunk of the tree that had fallen on the home…

Salem, Oregon, Statesman-Journal, February 10, 2020: Forest Service opens gateway through 560-year-old tree in Mount Jefferson Wilderness

It lived through the arrival of Columbus, welcomed Lewis and Clark to the West and survived the rise of Portland hipsters. But last winter a particularly strong gust of wind brought a titanic Douglas fir crashing down in the Mount Jefferson Wilderness. Normally, even a tree the size of a Saturn rocket would barely be noticeable when it fell. But in this case, it blocked the Jefferson Lake Trail, an increasingly popular path into a beautiful section of wilderness backcountry. At first, forest officials considered rerouting the trail around it, since nobody short of Sasquatch would have a chance of climbing over it. But then came an audacious idea: a team of volunteers and Forest Service employees would cut a pathway through it. “It was a really cool opportunity for people to basically walk through the tree and see all its rings up close,” said Jessie Larson, the volunteers’ trail coordinator for Deschutes National Forest…

Seattle, Washington, Post-Intelligencer, February 10, 2020: Bonsai trees from 1940s worth thousands of dollars stolen from Federal Way museum

Federal Way police were on the lookout for two people who allegedly stole two prized bonsai trees — both decades-old and worth presumably thousands of dollars — from the Pacific Bonsai Museum on Sunday morning. The two trees were stolen at about 7 a.m., Kathy McCabe, the museum’s executive director, said in a news release. Federal Way Police Department spokesman Cmdr. Kurt Schwan confirmed the time and said officers responded to an alarm call at the museum. Two suspects were seen on the museum’s security footage in the secure area of the museum, Schwan said in an email. However, when officers arrived, no suspects were found. The two trees were stolen at about 7 a.m., Kathy McCabe, the museum’s executive director, said in a news release. Federal Way Police Department spokesman Cmdr. Kurt Schwan confirmed the time and said officers responded to an alarm call at the museum. Two suspects were seen on the museum’s security footage in the secure area of the museum, Schwan said in an email. However, when officers arrived, no suspects were found. The trees were especially valuable because of their historical significance. One, a Japanese black pine, was grown from a seed in a tin can by Jizaburo Furuzawa while he was imprisoned in an internment camp World War II, McCabe said… 

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, WPVI-TV, February 10, 2020: Researchers studying potential for maple syrup production in New Jersey

Researchers at Stockton University are looking for participants for a pilot program to study the potential for maple syrup production in New Jersey. On Monday, team members tapped maple trees in the woods at Stockton University, while mathematics professor Judith Vogel offered a taste of her homemade maple syrup made from her family’s trees nearby. “My girls have this understanding that things like syrup and honey take time. And it takes process and it’s years’ worth of work for a little bit of product,” said Vogel. The demonstration was part of the kickoff for a new pilot program, and researchers are looking for property owners with maple trees, especially if those landowners have multiple acres. “With the goal of letting Stockton students and faculty go into their property and take measurements to understand why their land is or is not good for producing sap,” said Aaron Stoler, assistant professor of Environmental Science at Stockton University. Stockton was recently awarded a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to study South Jersey’s potential for syrup production and its effect on the environment. “The soil quality on this land is great, the soil quality is not great. What does it do to the wildlife? What does it do to the other vegetation in the forest?” Stoler said, rattling off a few things for which his team will look. Researchers will focus mainly on red maples. They’re not as commonly used for syrup production as the sugar maple. But red maples are readily found in New Jersey and often cut down for firewood…

Greensboro, North Carolina, WFMY-TV, February 9, 2020: Be Storm Smart: Who pays when trees fall, what insurance covers and storm-related scams.

The Insurance Information Institute says no matter where a tree came from –your yard, your neighbor’s yard, it doesn’t matter. If it hit your house — your homeowners insurance will cover the cost. The only time your neighbor’s insurance could be on the hook for paying for your damage is if you have already notified the neighbor, your insurance company and theirs that the tree is a danger. This notification needs to be in writing BEFORE any damage takes place. Usually, the insurance company will cover the cost of getting the tree out of the house and repairing the house. But many policies don’t cover cutting up the tree and physically removing it off your property– that’s an out of pocket cost. Also, if the tree falls on your property and doesn’t hit the house, chances are your insurance will NOT pay for any of the costs. When you contract with a company for tree removal, make sure the cost includes the actual removal of the debris from your property. Many times the cost only includes cutting up the tree into manageable parts. Get it all in writing. If a tree or limb or even the carport falls on your vehicle damaging it, it is your car insurance that pays–never your homeowners. (Again, the tree rule for homes applies here too. It doesn’t matter where the tree comes from, it’s your insurance claim!) For this kind of damage to be paid for by your auto insurance, you need to have Comprehensive Coverage…

Arlington Heights, Illinois, Daily Herald, February 9, 2020: Where should you plant your next shade tree?

Beautiful landscaping can add instant curb appeal to a property. But beauty isn’t the only thing that makes idyllic landscaping attractive to homeowners. Some landscaping features, such as shade trees, save homeowners money while adding aesthetic appeal. The U.S. Department of Energy notes that shading is the most cost-effective way to reduce solar heat gain in a home. Shading also cuts air conditioning costs, which tend to be expensive in areas with warm, humid climates. In fact, the DOE notes that well-planned landscapes can reduce unshaded homes’ air conditioning costs by anywhere from 15% to 50%. When planting shade trees, one of the first decisions homeowners will need to make is which type of tree, deciduous or evergreen, they want to plant. Deciduous trees are those that seasonally shed their leaves, while evergreens are trees that keep their leaves throughout the year. Deciduous trees can help keep homes cool in the summer by blocking sun, and those same trees can be beneficial in winter after they shed their leaves by letting the sun in and keeping homes warm. But evergreens also can be beneficial in winter by blocking wind, potentially preventing cold air from making its way into a home through cracks in walls or around windows…

Washington, D.C., Post, February 7, 2020: A funeral for Hollywood’s ‘Witness Tree,’ a century-old oak made famous in countless movies

Even in death, the Witness Tree looked alive. With twin trunks and a regal crown of tangled branches, the gigantic valley oak stood in the middle of Hollywood’s Paramount Ranch for at least a century, perhaps witnessing enough films to rival Roger Ebert. It witnessed the making of silent movies and TV westerns, fake gunfights and real car crashes. It saw Bob Hope in “Caught in the Draft” and Sandra Bullock in “The Lake House.” And it witnessed weddings and parties too, hosting hundreds of guests beneath its leafy outstretched branches. But early in the morning of Nov. 9, 2018, it witnessed something frightening. The flames of Southern California’s Woolsey Fire ravaged through the Santa Monica Mountains, taking out a stand of willow trees before surging onto Paramount Ranch. The entire Western Town’s Main Street, recently the set of HBO’s “Westworld,” burned to the ground…

Portland, Oregon, The Oregonian, February 9, 2020: Will this wounded weeping willow survive? Ask an expert

Q: I had this happen last year to another tree. This one is a weeping willow. I know it is still alive because it is starting to bud. But there is a big wound in the bark, and it is cracking above it. I don’t know how this happened, unless it was a mountain beaver or “boomer” as they call them out here. (I live in rural Estacada) Is there a way I can fix this wound and save this tree?
A: As you can guess, we have no way of predicting whether an insult to a plant will spell its doom, or whether it will survive in spite of it. The photo appears to show no rotting wood, seeping or infection. If the tree is still creating foliage, then water and nutrients are being transported from the roots to the tree canopy, so the phloem and xylem are still functional. I think the best thing you can do is to wait and see, by regular monitoring. Don’t add anything — except perhaps some fencing around the trunk, but not near it, to keep boomers away. Here is an article with information about “dressing” tree wounds…

Atlanta, Georgia, WSB-TV, February 6, 2020: If your neighbor’s tree falls in your yard, who pays for cleanup?

If a tree falls in your yard, what you do next could save you money, a limb and maybe even your life. According to Trees Atlanta, the metro area has the nation’s highest “urban tree canopy,” defined as the layer of leaves, branches and stems of trees that cover the ground when viewed from above. During the stormy summer months, fallen trees are fixtures in metro Atlanta’s landscape. The steps you take after a tree falls can mean the difference between headache and heartache. The first thing to do is call your homeowners insurance agent, said Bob Delbridge, owner of 404-Cut-Tree, one of the largest tree service companies in the Atlanta area. “Occasionally we will deal directly with the insurance company. But that’s more likely if there is a storm that covers a large area, like a whole neighborhood.” Delbridge said. “Typically, the homeowner deals with their own insurance company.” Where the tree falls determines who pays for what. “Almost everyone is surprised when we tell them, the way the law works is, wherever the tree landed, that person is responsible for dealing with it regardless of where the tree came from.” That’s right, even if the tree is rooted in your neighbor’s yard, if it crashes onto your property, it’s your problem. An exception to this, attorney Steve Goldman with The Goldman Firm said, is if the tree is visibly diseased or damaged. In that case, the owner of the tree might be held liable…

Manchester, New Hampshire, Union Leader, February 6, 2020: Town seeks dismissal of suit over ‘nuisance’ Candia crabapple tree

The town is hoping a judge will toss a local couple’s lawsuit over a crabapple tree that selectmen have deemed a “public nuisance.” Town attorney Michael Courtney filed a response to Dustin and Jennifer Heiberg’s complaint on Tuesday asking a Rockingham County Superior Court judge to dismiss their case. The Heibergs took legal action in January asking the court to reverse the selectmen’s decision that determined the crabapple tree in the front yard of their home at 14 Jane Drive to be a public nuisance. The town has threatened to remove it if the Heibergs don’t cut back some of the small branches that have begun to stick out into the road. The Heibergs claim the tree isn’t a problem and that other larger trees in town pose a bigger hazard. They also argue that the town never got a deed for the road, which would make it private and would give selectmen no authority to find that it’s a “public nuisance…”

LaSalle, Illinois, Agrinews, February 6, 2020: Extending the life of urban trees

Many urban trees only live about 20% of their life due to issues like pests and disease, but mostly can be linked back to improper care and installation. Quite simply, a tree should live more than 50 years and up to 100 years, depending on the species. A recent U.S. Department of Agriculture study analyzing tree life expectancy in urban areas averaged the typical street tree living between 19 to 28 years. However, the ideal lifespan of a white oak is 600 years and the average lifespan of a red maple can be between 75 to 150 years in the Illinois wilds. Urban greening through planting trees has increased in response to residents’ lack of interaction with nature and the benefits these trees provide the environment through services like cooling buildings through shade and cleaning the air and water through filtration. However, urban trees must withstand pollution, poor soils, limited leg room for roots and pressure from insects and disease and their health and cultural requirements are not considered or monitored. Maybe it’s these urban challenges that cause them to die young. What’s worse, most are planted incorrectly, giving them a poor outlook from the beginning…

Willoughby, Ohio, News-Herald, February 6, 2020: Geauga Park District checking hemlock trees for HWA insect

Geauga Park District is on the lookout for a parasitic insect that is harmful to the Eastern hemlock tree, one of the few native evergreens found in Ohio. The non-native insect pest from Asia is called the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid, or HWA for short. It is very small and attaches itself to the underside of the hemlock’s needle base and feeds on the tree’s carbohydrates, according to a news release. Because the HWA has no native predators, it can reproduce in such large numbers that it will eventually kill the tree. To survey the parks for the presence of HWA and prepare ways to deal with this potential threat, the park district’s Natural Resource Management team has organized a group of six volunteers that are surveying 11 Park District properties this winter. “Eastern hemlock trees are also on many more acres of private property in the area, and landowners should be on the lookout as well,” said Land Steward Joel Firem in the release. Those who have hemlock trees in their yard or in their woodlands are asked to take the time to inspect them. October through March is the best time to survey for the HWA, the release stated…

Atlanta, Georgia, Journal Constitution, February 5, 2020: The felled feeling of the Fed cutting down trees and Atlanta

You can’t fight City Hall. And it’s even tougher to fight the feds, even when you ARE City Hall. The city of Atlanta recently got a stiff arm from the U.S. government in the form of the Federal Reserve, that big marble building at 10th and Peachtree streets where kids go on tours and walk out with bags of shredded money. Except now the feds are shredding trees instead of cash. Let me explain. The whole episode began last year when officials at the Atlanta Fed contacted the city arborist to request permission to take down 12 elm trees planted out in front. The trees were located in the Fed’s Jack Guynn Plaza, a shady respite with benches in the increasingly built-up Midtown. The city initially gave the feds the OK to take down the dozen mature elms and replace them with four small redbud trees. But two women who live nearby — Tovah Choudhury and Sudie Nolan-Cassimatis — thought that was a terrible idea and appealed the decision to the Atlanta Tree Conservation Commission. “It was almost like a mini-park, a break in all the concrete,” said Choudhury…

New Orleans, Louisiana, KNOE-TV, February 5, 2020: Charity to replant Lincoln Parish trees lost to April 2019 tornado

A public charity is working to replace trees lost during the April 2019 tornado in Lincoln Parish. On February 8, 2020, RETREET will lead a coalition of local, regional, and national partners in planting up to 170 caliper trees, free of charge, at the homes of families in Lincoln affected by the April 2019 tornado. RETREET, a group that helps communities restore decimated urban forests, says families affected don’t have the resources or means to replace their lost trees. “It’s been a long journey back. RETREET’s volunteers and trees helped my community fill voids left by the devastation and bring smiles as we watch them grow – a symbol that life is returning and this will be a great place to live again,” said Rebecca Kasbaum, an Oklahoma woman who RETREET helped after a tornado hit her town in 2013…

New Scientist, February 5, 2020: Extinct date palms grown from 2000-year-old seeds found near Jerusalem

Seven date palm trees have been grown from 2000-year-old seeds that were found in the Judean desert near Jerusalem. The seeds – the oldest ever germinated – were among hundreds discovered in caves and in an ancient palace built by King Herod the Great in the 1st century BC. Sarah Sallon at the Louis L Borick Natural Medicine Research Center in Jerusalem and her colleagues previously grew a single date palm tree (Phoenix dactylifera) from one of the seeds. The team has now managed to grow a further six. The ancient seeds were prepared by soaking them in water, adding hormones that encourage germination and rooting, then planting them in soil in a quarantined area. The team used radiocarbon dating to reveal the seven seeds were all around 2000 years old. Genetic analysis showed that several of them came from female date palms that were pollinated by male palms from different areas. This hints that the ancient Judean people who lived in the area at the time and cultivated the trees used sophisticated plant breeding techniques. Historical accounts of the dates that grew from the palms in this region describe their large size, sweetness and medicinal properties. The Roman scribe Pliny the Elder, for example, wrote that their “outstanding property is the unctuous juice which they exude and an extremely sweet sort of wine-flavour like that of honey”. Unlike Egyptian dates, they could be stored for a long time, meaning they could be exported throughout the Roman Empire…

Sonoma, California, Napa Valley Register, February 5, 2020: New trees to be planted in downtown Calistoga

The city of Calistoga is in the process of replacing the decaying trees along Lincoln Avenue downtown with a few new species. The project is planned to take over the next three years. About 15 trees will be replaced this year, with 10 more next year, and about five more the following year, officials said. The majority of trees being removed are flowering pear trees, and also a few Chinese pistache, one maple and a couple of crepe myrtles, said Public Works Director Derek Raynor. Most were planted in the early 1990s and are almost 30 years old. On Jan. 31, Pacific Tree Care was planting a crepe myrtle tree in front of West of Poppy, near the corner of Washington Street. The tree will blossom with white flowers, to contrast against the red brick building, said the company’s owner, Joe Schneider. It takes about half a day just to take the original tree out, along with its roots and old soils, he said. Red maples and Chinese pistaches will also be planted downtown. Pistache blooms are mostly reddish, and are hardy, small- to medium-sized trees that can withstand harsh conditions and poor quality soils…

Sonoma, California, Napa Valley Register, February 4, 2020: PG&E tree work leaves trail of Upvalley complaints

A few months ago Beclee Wilson found five workers cutting down a tree behind her house north of St. Helena. Hired by PG&E, the crew had entered the Wilson property through a gate to an adjoining property, where the landowner had granted them permission to trim his trees. Beclee and her husband, John, had not. She approached the foreman, who said he was from West Virginia. “I told him there was a town named Beckley in West Virginia, just like my name. He said, ‘That’s where I’m from.’ I said, ‘Good, now go home,’” Wilson said. She managed to shoo them away before they could cut down the entire tree. But the incident is echoed by other rural Upvalley residents who accuse out-of-state crews hired by PG&E of haphazardly trimming and removing trees, failing to implement erosion-control measures, and leaving behind trash and dead trimmings that will only add to the fuel load. Deanna Contreras, spokesperson for PG&E, writes, “PG&E takes all feedback about our work seriously. The safety of our customers and communities we serve is our most important responsibility. There are several opportunities for property owners to voice concern regarding our work…”

Grand Junction, Colorado, Sentinel, February 4, 2020: 2019 snowpack eased beetle activity in state, but wet spring affected aspen

Abundant snowpack in Colorado last winter helped reduce 2019 bark beetle activity compared to 2018, but the wet spring that followed contributed to some defoliation of aspen trees, including locally, a new report finds. The U.S. Forest Service and Colorado State Forest Service recently released results from their annual aerial survey to evaluate the level of impacts to forest health from insects and disease. “Region-wide, the total acreage of new tree mortality attributed to bark beetles declined; however, large epidemics of spruce beetle and roundheaded/western pine beetles in Colorado continue to expand,” the Forest Service says in a report. Last year’s solid snowpack followed a 2018 winter that was the second driest in Colorado in records dating back to 1895. Dan West, a State Forest Service entomologist, said last year was “a good year for trees, which means reduced acreage in bark beetle activity.” More moisture makes trees better able to produce sap, which they use as a defense against insect infestation. West said it takes more than one year of good precipitation, however, for trees to get back to full health after drought…

Weatherford, Texas, Democrat, February 4, 2020: Texas oak wilt season: Officials advise halting oak tree pruning through June

It’s that time of year again where local and state officials are reminding residents to hold off on pruning their oak trees through June to help prevent the spreading of a deadly tree disease. Oak wilt is considered one of the most destructive tree diseases in the US and is killing oak trees in some parts of Texas at epidemic proportions, according to the Texas A&M Forest Service. Oak wilt is an infectious disease caused by a fungus, Bretziella fagacearum, that invades and disables the water-conducting system in oak trees. “February through the end of June is oak wilt season in Texas,” Texas A&M Forest Service Staff Forester II Rachel McGregor, who covers the Parker County area, said. “If you are concerned you might have oak wilt, I recommend contacting an ISA oak wilt qualified arborist, your local Texas A&M Forest Service forester, me, or your local AgriLife Extension agent.” All species of oak trees can be infected by the oak wilt fungus, but live oaks and red oaks are the most susceptible. “Oak wilt is one of those diseases that can cause a lot of heartache and distress. In some situations homeowners have no other option than to just watch their oak trees die,” Parker County Extension Agent Jay Kingston said. “I have seen oak wilt in red oaks and live oaks in all portions of the county. If residents have infected red oaks, immediate disposal is recommended to help cut down the chance of spreading the fungus…”

Coos Bay, Oregon, World, February 4, 2020: Man admits to stealing trees on BLM property

A man was caught stealing two cedar trees last month. According to a press release from the Coos County Sheriff’s Office, a call came in reporting an active cedar theft in the Fall Creek area of Myrtle Point on Bureau of Land Management property. Deputies responded but weren’t able to locate the suspect. However, they did find where the two cedar trees were cut down and the missing cedar bolts. “Deputies received information from a witness about the suspect vehicle and license plate,” the release said. On Jan. 20, a deputy and BLM law enforcement ranger went to the registered address of the suspect vehicle on the 1600 block of Maple Street in Myrtle Point. While there, officers spotted the suspect vehicle and a large amount of cedar bolts in the yard, the release said “Officers made contact with James Baker, who later admitted to stealing the cedar bolts from the Fall Creek area,” the release continued. “Officers seized the stolen cedar bolts from the property.” James Baker, 31, from Myrtle Point was issued a criminal citation and released. He will also be charged with theft in the first degree. “Officers later received a timber value estimate that put the value of the two trees at over $1,500,” the release said…

PBS, February 3, 2020: Dog sleuths sniff out crop disease hitting U.S. citrus trees

Dog detectives might be able to help save ailing citrus groves, research published Monday suggests. Scientists trained dogs to sniff out a crop disease called citrus greening that has hit orange, lemon and grapefruit orchards in Florida, California and Texas. The dogs can detect it weeks to years before it shows up on tree leaves and roots, the researchers report. “This technology is thousands of years old – the dog’s nose,” said Timothy Gottwald, a researcher with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and a co-author of the study. “We’ve just trained dogs to hunt new prey: the bacteria that causes a very damaging crop disease.” Dog sleuths are also faster, cheaper and more accurate than people collecting hundreds of leaves for lab analysis, according to the study in the Proceedings of National Academies of Sciences. Citrus greening — also called huanglongbing — is caused by a bacteria that is spread by a tiny insect that feeds on the leaves and stems of citrus trees. Once a tree is infected, there’s no cure. The disease has also hurt citrus crops in Central and South America and Asia. In one experiment in a Texas grapefruit orchard, trained dogs were accurate 95% of the time in distinguishing between newly infected trees and healthy ones…

San Francisco, California, Chronicle, February 3, 2020: A tragic reminder of the hazards of tree work

Edgar Martin Ramos Martinez called his wife and four kids in Guatemala every morning, as he did every lunch break and after he finished work as a Bay Area arborist. The 37-year-old would hear updates from his children, and he and his wife would discuss the future they wanted for their children and where the family could build a house in their native country. But Ramos was killed Jan. 27 in an unincorporated part of Mill Valley when a tree he and his colleagues were cutting knocked over a second tree that toppled a third tree that struck him. Officials determined Ramos’ cause of death to be blunt impact injuries and the manner an accident. A Marin County chief deputy coroner called the incident a “fluke.” Ramos’ death marked the first tree-related workplace fatality of the year in California, officials said, but it’s just the latest example of the hazards arborists face when providing a vital service to communities. Such deaths have nearly tripled across the state over the last decade, according to Cal/OSHA’s most recent figures, and officials and experts have become increasingly concerned that the public and even some workers underestimate the dangers of the industry…

Tucson, Arizona, University of Arizona Daily Wildcat, February 4, 2020: Gas can be removed from poplar trees to produce cleaner air, study finds

A new study led by the University of Arizona shows that poplar trees can be altered to produce better air quality by removing isoprene, a gas that damages air quality. Russell K. Monson, professor for the department of ecology and evolutionary biology and Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research at UA explained the modification. “We engineered the process by which cells translate genes into proteins by constructing a molecule that neutralizes the messengers that carry the genetic code to the protein-synthesizing machinery of the cell,” Monson said in an email. “We then used a bacterium that is specialized for infecting plant cells to transfer our engineered molecule into some cells isolated from poplar trees.” Monson also said when they were certain that the infection had been transferred into the molecule, they cultured the infected cells and they grew and differentiated into a new tree, “but in this case with the isoprene emission trait neutralized.” After the infected cells developed into a new tree, the modified tree growth was tested at both Biosphere 2 in Arizona and experimental tree plantations in Oregon. The researchers repressed isoprene emissions from the poplar trees by using a technology that’s specifically used for genetically-modifying these trees called Ribonucleic Acid Inhibition (RNAi)…

Springfield, Massachusetts, WWLP-TV, February 3, 2020: Warmer than normal winter weather could cause trees to bloom early

A blooming tree reacts most to warming temperatures, so warmer weather in the winter can have the trees blooming like it’s already spring. Most trees go dormant in the winter until they can bloom again in the spring. But when the weather feels like spring, like it has been in western Massachusetts recently, trees can sprout leaves, flowers, and fruit early. 22News sat down with associate professor Rick Harper of urban forestry at UMass Amherst about when we can expect to see bloom again in Spring. “The real thing we’re concerned about is the fluctuation,” said Harper. “So we do start to see early blooms so if this warmer weather continues, well into February, we certainly could see some earlier blooms, and then we get concerned about early frosts.” A stretch of warmer weather, followed by a significant cooldown, can be stressful and potentially damaging to trees…

New York City, AM New York, February 2, 2020: More green for less green: NYC tree planting programs slows due to rising costs

In October 2015, New York City celebrated the final planting of its Million Trees program with Mayor Bill de Blasio and former Mayor Michael Bloomberg presiding over the installation of a lacebark elm in a Bronx park. Though this marked the official end to the city’s ambitious program to combat climate change, the city planned to continue the sped-up tree plantings to cool sweltering summer sidewalks. But that did not happen; beginning with the city’s very next budget year, the number of street trees planted began dropping and the decline has continued ever since. Only 6,646 street trees were planted in the 12 months ending June 30, 2019, one-third the 20,545 trees planted three years earlier. The cuts were forced upon the city due to rapidly rising costs for planting street trees, according to Department of Parks and Recreation officials. The average cost of planting a tree is $2,700 for the current budget year, nearly double the $1,400 five years ago. The cuts were forced upon the city due to rapidly rising costs for planting street trees, according to Dept of Parks and Recreation officials…

Abilene, Texas, Reporter News, February 2, 2020: Trees unfazed by winter winds

I can’t help but notice that we’ve had some pretty typical weather lately, where part of the day was really pleasant, then suddenly a north wind blew in (and by “blew”, I mean 20-30 miles per hour) and the temperature dropped like a rock. Oh well. Welcome to West Texas and its weather. Spring in the morning, winter in the afternoon, or vise-versa if that’s what nature has in mind that day. While you and I may not be particularly appreciative of cold, windy days, it’s a little different for trees. Some of our trees really need this kind of weather, and at this time of year. I joke a lot about how our northern neighbors in Canada are not doing us any favors by sending us blasts of cold air in the winter when we don’t want them instead of in the summer. However, as much as I would enjoy that reversal, or at least like to give it a try this coming summer, trees and plants have evolved to make use of the winter weather…

Washington, D.C., The Hill, February 2, 2020: GOP bill will seek to commit US to planting 3.3 billion trees annually

Republicans are putting the finishing touches on a bill that would cement President Trump’s commitment to a global initiative to plant 1 trillion trees, though experts caution that planting trees is not the most effective way to combat climate change. Legislation being drafted by Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) that will be unveiled this week would commit the U.S. to planting some 3.3 billion trees each year over the next 30 years, an increase of about 800 million trees per year. “The pragmatic, proactive thing to do is to plant forests and manage them so that you’re actually pulling carbon out of the atmosphere,” Westerman said. The bill is just one component of a coming package of legislation from House Republicans that offers their solution to the climate crisis following Democrat’s rollout of their own sweeping plan that would aim to have the U.S. reach carbon neutrality by 2050…

Las Vegas, Nevada, Review Journal, February 2, 2020: Freezing temperatures can cause trees to lose fruit

If you have fruit trees, do me a favor. If you don’t know already, go outside and see if your trees are starting to flower. Many of you will know this already, but some people don’t go outside and look. Then the same people later wonder why their tree didn’t produce any fruit or produced very little fruit. Some peaches flower early in the spring and some later, and some citrus have open flowers right now. If freezing weather came through your yard, those fruit trees with open or partially opened flowers will lose fruit to the freeze. Some may even lose their flowers. If several freezes come through your backyard a week apart during the month, it’s possible to lose all the fruit because of sequential freezing temperatures. Last year’s fruit production was much lower than in previous years. That’s because we had three freezing events about a week apart that moved through the Las Vegas Valley in February, including one snow event. This reduced or eliminated fruit production on about two-thirds of the fruit varieties in the valley…

Sacramento, California, KOVR-TV, January 30, 2020: Homeowners Concerned: PG&E Injecting Chemicals Beneath Trees On Private Properties

Some homeowners are concerned after learning PG&E is injecting chemicals under trees near power lines on private properties in an effort to stunt the tree’s growth. CBS13 has learned that 3,700 Northern California homeowners recently received door tags from PG&E, notifying them that the utility would be injecting a chemical Tree Growth Regulator (TGR) at the base of some trees on their properties unless they contacted the company to opt-out. Joe Green of Ione, along with many of his neighbors, are among those opting out. “I don’t want to be the guinea pig,” Green said. “I think trimming is a much more viable alternative right now to having an unknown chemical inserted into our ground.” One of Green’s concerns is that there is not much public information about the potential health effects of the chemical. According to his notice, the brand name is Cambistat, a plant growth retardant and fungicide. The active ingredient, Paclobutrazol, is classified as a toxic chemical by the EPA. The chemical would be injected into the soil at the base of the tree where it is absorbed by the roots, reducing branch growth by 40 to 70% for up to four years. The goal is to reduce PG&E’s need to prune the treated trees under power lines…

Raleigh, North Carolina, WRAL-TV, January 30, 2020: New Mexico sawmill struggling under revised owl ruling

A sawmill is struggling to keep afloat amid a months-long court injunction that barred logging anywhere near Mexican spotted owl habitat in New Mexico’s five national forests. Mt. Taylor Manufacturing in Milan, New Mexico, was silenced in mid-December because of the court battle, the Santa Fe New Mexican reports. A federal judge imposed the ban on timber activities in September based on a 2013 lawsuit by the Santa Fe-based environmental group WildEarth Guardians that claimed the U.S. Forest Service failed to monitor the spotted owl adequately. The bird is listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act since 1993. A month later, the judge allowed limited cutting, such as Christmas tree harvests, outside owl territory. The trees outside the owls’ habitat are juniper and piñon, according to Matt Allen, owner of Mt. Taylor Manufacturing. His operation uses ponderosa pine — the trees on which the owls nest — so the judge’s revised order doesn’t help his mill…

Phys.org, January 30, 2020: Trees might be ‘aware’ of their size

Trees are known for their great, but not unlimited, trunk height and diameter. They have evolved to develop a heavy above-ground biomass, but this integral feature poses a challenge to the trunk’s stability. Despite its evident importance, the principle by which plant stems respond to their increasing weight remains unknown. To address this question, a theory of “vertical proprioception,” a mechanism that balances the radial growth of the stem with the weight increase, has been developed. To study the theory, researchers at the University of Helsinki, University of Cambridge and Natural Resources Institute Finland manipulated the aerial weight of downy birch (Betula pubescens). The researchers observed that the tree was indeed able to adjust its stem radial growth in response to the added weight, and the strength of this response varied along the length of the stem. Furthermore, a degree of lateral stem movement was required for this response: static trees did not grow as thick as free-moving ones…

Anaheim, California, Orange County Register, January 30, 2020: Drummond: Trimming trees is costing more

The cost of maintaining more than 32,000 city-owned trees within Yorba Linda’s 20-square-mile area will jump 25% under a contract extension approved by City Council members at a recent meeting. The contract with the Anaheim-based West Coast Arborists will total $6 million for a three-year period through June 2022, up from $4.8 million, based on two more extensions allowed under the current contract. The company has been maintaining city trees since 2011. West Coast Arborists will work on more than 25,000 trees in the city’s Landscape Maintenance Assessment District, some 4,000 trees in city parks and about 3,500 along the streets. The prior 2016 contract estimated annual maintenance expenses at $681,500, but actual costs over the three-year contract term jumped 35% to $920,476 “due to emergency tree removals and other required work due to the drought,” according to a city report. An additional $406,503 for each year would be required under three one-year extensions, bringing the total cost to $6 million through June 2022. Consumer price index adjustments, higher insurance limits and indemnification language account for much of the added costs…

Raleigh, North Carolina, WTVD-TV, January 29, 2020: Raleigh tree service owner vows to stop cutting down trees to save the planet

Imagine taking over a business and growing it into a $5,000,000 a year operation. Now imagine making a decision that could cut that business by at least 30 percent. That’s what Basil Camu did with his Raleigh tree service company, Leaf & Limb. “As I was learning about trees, I was also learning about planetary health issues,” Camu said. “And I began to learn that trees can solve so many of those issues.” He took over the company from his father 10 years ago. He said the only thing he knew about trees then was how to cut them down. Now, he said he has learned a lot since he became a certified arborist or, as he calls himself, a treecologist. Some of his research involved findings by NASA. that examine the possibility that tree planting could help save our planet from the dire issues facing it like the loss of underground water and air pollution. His knowledge of trees moved him to make a monumental and potentially fateful decision late last year: Leaf & Limb will no longer cut down trees. It meant an almost immediate loss of business that could mean a drastic reduction in revenue. “Somewhere between one third and one half. It’s hard to say, but roughly $1.5 to $2 million,” Camu said. Now, Leaf & Limb will care for your trees, but they will not fell them…

Redding, California, KHSL-TV, January 29, 2020: FEMA expands dead tree removal coverage to private roads

After what Paradise town leaders say took months of negotiation and conversation, FEMA plans to expand its coverage of post-disaster clean-up in the Camp Fire burn scar to private roads. The impact of this new expanded coverage will be largely felt in Paradise, which has roughly 100 miles of private roads well-traveled by locals. The federal government usually only covers disaster-related clean-up near public infrastructure. “This is huge for the town of Paradise. Allowing the state to come in and remove those trees at no cost to the property owner is a very big help,” said Lauren Gill, Paradise Town Manager. “That said, we are still working with CAL OES to get a public-facing map that shows the eligible roads and properties. It’s not complete yet,” added Gill. Action News Now is working to learn just exactly which private roads will be covered by the state-sponsored program. County spokesperson Casey Hatcher said a map will be made available to the public sometime next week…

Real Clear Energy, January 29, 2020: Missing the Forest for the Trees: Woody Biomass Helps Cut CO2 Emissions

In the debate over fuels for energy production, we’re overlooking the most reliable cleanest option: Our trees. I’ve studied and written on this issue for more than ten years, and the facts lead me to conclude that sustainably sourced woody biomass is an environmentally sound alternative to fossil fuels such as coal in the United States and beyond. An analysis I recently published in the Annual Review of Resource Economics explains in detail the economics, environmental benefits, and social acceptance of wood-based energy development in the United States, mirroring the recommendations of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that woody biomass, when grown in sustainably managed forests and harvested following forestry best management practices, could help in mitigating climate change. Yes, burning wood pellets releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. But these emissions are recovered within a year by the new growth on those forestlands which are supporting the continuous production of wood pellets. This creates an overall low-emission electricity generation system. An earlier study estimated that woody biomass from the U.S. Southeast reduces carbon intensity by at least 77% compared to coal if consumed within the country, and between 49% and 72% if the same is shipped abroad for use in countries like the Netherlands…

Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, MV Times, January 29, 2020: Does the ‘tree of death’ grow at the Tisbury School?

Beside the front entrance to the Tisbury School, an evergreen tree grows against the brickwork. It appears to be a yew, according to experts. The yew is what Cornell University describes as the “tree of death,” and the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences calls “one of the most poisonous woody plants in the world.” Ingestion of yew can be fatal to people and animals, according to the American Conifer Society. “All species of yew contain highly poisonous alkaloids known as taxanes,” according to the society website. “All parts of the tree except the arils contain the alkaloid. The arils are edible and sweet, but the seed is dangerously poisonous; unlike birds, the human stomach can break down the seed coat and release the taxanes into the body. This can have fatal results if yew ‘berries’ are eaten without removing the seeds first. Grazing animals, particularly cattle and horses, are also sometimes found dead near yew trees after eating the leaves, though deer are able to break down the poisons, and will eat yew foliage freely.” Shown photographs of the plant, Tim Boland of Polly Hill Arboretum, Marc Fournier of Mytoi Japanese garden, and John Delrosso of the Arnold Arboretum thought the plant looked like a yew. When the possibility a poisonous plant on the school grounds was pointed out to Superintendent of Schools Matt D’Andrea, he said if it proved to be true, the plant would likely be removed…

UPI, January 29, 2020: Oak leaves contain ‘potential cure’ for citrus greening disease, researchers say

Scientists in Florida have confirmed what some citrus growers suspected for years — that oak trees could inhibit citrus greening disease, which has brought the once-thriving Florida industry to the brink of collapse. Oak leaves represent “the first potential organic cure” for the destructive tree sickness, said Lorenzo Rossi, a University of Florida biologist and co-author of a study published in the January issue of the journal Plant Physiology and Biochemistry. Research over the past year at a University of Florida greenhouse in Fort Pierce showed that citrus trees recovered from citrus greening when sprayed and drenched with treated water twice a week for two months. The water was treated by steeping chopped oak leaves in it overnight, allowing leaf compounds to leach out, according to the published findings. The findings bring new hope to Florida’s citrus growers, said Andrew Meadows, director of communication at Florida Citrus Mutual, a trade association. “We all are watching closely, and it sounds promising,” Meadows said. “This has been a curiosity in the industry for a year now” as word of the study traveled through the farming community. “Growers knew that oak trees provided some protection, but not why…”

Mill Valley, California, Patch, January 28, 2020: Tree Trimmer Killed By Falling Tree In Mill Valley

A tree service worker was killed when a tree fell on him Monday morning in Mill Valley. Edgar Martin Ramos Martinez, 37, was a native of Guatemala who was living in San Rafael, according to the Marin County Sheriff’s Office. Martinez was removing trees on behalf of a homeowners’ association between Blue Jay Way and Chamberlain Court when he was struck by a falling tree and suffered traumatic head and body injuries, Chief Deputy Coroner Roger Fielding said. Martinez was in cardiopulmonary arrest when paramedics arrived. He was pronounced dead at the scene. A forensic postmortem exam and toxicology testing have been scheduled for later this week. “The Marin County Sheriff’s Office and personnel of the Coroner Division offers our best wishes and condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Ramos Martinez,” Fielding said. The Sheriff’s Office and the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) are investigating the death…

Boston, Massachusetts, MIT Technology Review, January 28, 2020: “A Trillion Trees” is a great idea—that could become a dangerous climate distraction

Signing on to the Trillion Tree initiative was basically the cost of admission for the global elite at this year’s World Economic Forum (well, that plus tens of thousands of dollars for the badge). In fact, tree planting was the rare issue on which even Jane Goodall and Donald Trump could get on the same page at Davos. Meanwhile, Axios revealed last week that Congressman Bruce Westerman, an Arkansas Republican, is working on a bill dubbed the Trillion Trees Act that would set a national target for tree planting (although apparently it won’t be—and almost certainly couldn’t be—a literal trillion). It’s great that trees are having a moment. Nations absolutely should plant and protect as many as possible—to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, provide habitat for animals, and restore fragile ecosystems. “Trees are an important, very visible, and very socializable answer,” says Roger Aines, who leads Lawrence Livermore National Lab’s Carbon Initiative, a research program on carbon dioxide removal. But it’s also a limited and unreliable way of addressing climate change. We have a terrible track record on carrying out reforestation efforts to date. We’d have to plant and protect a massive number of trees for decades to offset even a fraction of global emissions. And years of efforts can be nullified by droughts, wildfires, disease, or deforestation elsewhere…

Vancouver, British Columbia, January 28, 2020: B.C. woman on hook for cleanup costs for removal of tree near power lines

A B.C. woman is on the hook for cleanup costs after a large tree on her property deemed too close to power lines was cut down last week. Leigha Hamelin of Castlegar says she was shocked when she came home last Wednesday to find a tree service company cutting down the tree on the edge of her downtown property. Worse, she said, was that the work crew hired by FortisBC left the mess behind and that she has to foot the cleanup bill. A single mom with two small children, Hamelin said she asked the tree service company about cleanup costs, and was told the price would be about $200 an hour, with time ranging between two and three hours. Hamelin says she looked on FortisBC’s website and found information that said prior to taking down any tree, they make contact with the homeowner, then take the danger tree down in a safe manner…

Worcester, Massachusetts, Telegram, January 27, 2020: After infested tree found in Auburn, search for Asian longhorned beetles continues

Another tree has been discovered in the area that was infested with Asian longhorned beetles, according to the U.S. Department of agriculture. The tree was discovered at the town-owned Pakachoag Golf Course on Jan. 14. Survey crews continue to search trees on public and private property. But the recent discovery of the infested tree is not related to an ongoing search, officials said Monday. Workers will be seen in the area as the search continues, said Rhonda Santos, spokeswoman for the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. A part of the area south of Route 20 is in the quarantine zone, and some residents have been notified that crews will inspect some trees in the area. The ALB quarantine zone is not expanding, Santos said. She said the agency has survey crews this week in Auburn. Most of the surveyors are with a subcontractor, Davey Tree Expert Co. Robert Platukis of Millbury Street said he received a written notice over the weekend that tree workers would be on his property inspecting trees for signs of the bugs. “We recently did find an infested tree in Auburn, one tree on the Pakachoag Golf Course, where survey staff was surveying. Staff surveyed that area last week and did not find any more infested trees, but we are sending tree climbers to conduct additional surveys to be sure, and they will be in that area for one to two weeks,” she said…

Chicago, Illinois, Tribune, January 27, 2020: Deer going buck wild on trunks? How to save a tree after antler rub damage

Q: I just discovered some damage from deer rubs to the trunks of a couple of my trees. Will the trees be OK, and what can I do to protect them in the future?
A: Bucks can cause significant damage to young trees in the fall by rubbing their antlers on trunks. Male deer clean their antlers of summer velvet from early September through November while also marking their territory during the breeding season. The bucks repeatedly strike trees for noise effect to show dominance and intimidate other bucks. They also coat the twigs and bark with scent from glands in their faces and underbodies to mark their territory.Young trees that are 1 to 6 inches in diameter with smooth bark — such as maples, lindens, birches and magnolias — are most likely to be damaged by deer rubs. Larger trees with smooth bark, as well as clump-form trees, can also be damaged. I have seen aspen trees in Winnetka that are more than 10 inches in diameter incur major damage from buck rubs — buck territory includes many home gardens in this area. The damage to trees from buck rubs comes from the shredding of bark from a foot or so above the ground to 3 to 5 feet up the trunk. Young trees have very thin bark that is easily damaged. Usually, the damage is done over a 24-hour period. The tree’s vascular system — which is just below the bark and transports water, nutrients and food between the roots and leaves — gets damaged, and the underlying wood is exposed. If rubbed all the way around, the trunk will be girdled, resulting in the eventual death of the tree in one to three years. If the damage is mostly located vertically on the trunk and does not go all around it, the tree can survive, although it may die on the side where the damage occurred…

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, The Oklahoman, January 27, 2020: Nature & you: Brazen black walnut rustlers steal trees in daylight hours

Back in Oklahoma’s early years, cattle rustling was an all-too-common criminal activity. Oddly enough, it is a crime that still has its adherents even in today’s modern age. Sort of an off-shoot of this is tree rustling. Our state’s native black walnut trees are bearing the brunt of this crime. Cattle ranchers have been battling back on the bovine thefts. They take on the Herculean task of marking the individual livestock in their cattle herds with I.D. markers. Special employees (stock detectives) have even been hired in order to come to grips with this perplexing criminal activity. It’s a much different world when comparisons and contrasts are done between cattle rustling and tree theft. Those persons that purloin walnut trees they do not own do so in broad daylight in municipal lawns. The large, stately walnut trees that play a major role as the prominent shade tree in a home’s street-facing lawn are all too susceptible to theft. The interior wood of a walnut tree fetches a premium price on today’s market. The central trunk of a walnut tree can be milled to a paper-thin veneer that can be glued to a furniture framework. The tree’s beautiful wood grain and pleasing color have the potential to transform a ho-hum pine wood table into a magnificently beautiful piece of furniture art…

Syracuse, New York, Post-Standard, January 27, 2020: Tree falls on man’s head as he cuts it down in Oneida County, police say

Emergency crews rushed to get to a man in the woods after a tree fell on his head Monday afternoon, Oneida County Sheriff Robert Maciol said in a news release. The man, whose name was not released, was cutting down a tree in a wooded area off Evans Road in the town of Steuben when the logging accident happened, the sheriff said. Someone called 911 at 4:57 p.m. to report the man had been struck in the head by the tree he had been cutting down. Road patrol deputies walked about a half-mile into the woods and found the injured man, Maciol said in the release…

Cleveland, Ohio, Plain Dealer, January 26, 2020: Where have all the trees gone? Cuyahoga tree canopy shrinks by 6,600 acres; Lakewood hardest hit

Nothing looks obviously out of kilter on a crisp winter day in Lakewood’s tony Clifton Park neighborhood, where beautiful mansions command stunning views of Lake Erie. But Cuyahoga County’s newest urban tree canopy assessment, released last month, shows that the neighborhood has suffered one of the highest levels of tree losses in the county over the past decade. Clifton Park is a snapshot of what tree advocates are calling an emergency for climate resilience, natural habitat, property values and human health Lakewood topped all 59 Cuyahoga communities with an 18.5% loss in its tree canopy, according to the assessment, which analyzes data gathered in 2017 to determine rates of change since an earlier report based on 2011 data. Clifton Park shows up as a bright red hot spot in the Urban Tree Canopy Viewer on the new county webpage brimming with navigable maps and data about the county’s growing bald patches. The neighborhood accounted for 20% of Lakewood’s losses between 2011 and 2017. That amounts to 37 acres of tree cover out of 182 acres lost in the city, according to a local report by Lakewood’s urban forester, Chris Perry. Overall, the county’s tree canopy — the layer of leaves, branches and trunks of trees that cover the ground when viewed from above — fell from 37% to 35% of its land area…

NPR, January 26, 2020: Bigleaf Maple Syrup Flows As Profits Drip From Once-Maligned Northwest Tree

There’s probably more written on how to kill a bigleaf maple tree than how to grow one, according to Neil McLeod of Neil’s Bigleaf Maple Syrup, a farm in the tiny northwestern Washington burg of Acme. “It’s hard to kill,” McLeod says with a wry smile. “A great tree. Perfect weed. It makes good syrup.” In his humid, densely-scented sugar barn puffy steam pours out of an evaporator through several big stacks and into the cold winter air. The damp perfume permeates his T-shirt and clouds his glasses as he leans over the vats, inspecting them for any out-of-control foaming. McLeod has become intensely interested in how to better grow the West Coast’s native bigleaf maple tree — because he’s started tapping them by the hundreds for his boutique syrup business…

Las Cruces, New Mexico, January 26, 2020: How to protect tree trunks from sunscald

After last week’s column on transplanting 8-year-old plum trees was published, City of Las Cruces Community Forester Jimmy Zabriskie contacted me about another important consideration: sunscald. Zabriskie pointed out that care should be taken to be sure transplants are oriented in the same direction in their new spot as they were when they were originally planted. The concern here is that the southwest side of the trunk may have already been hardened and is better able to withstand afternoon sun during winter months. If a tree is inadvertently rotated, there could be higher risk of getting winter sunscald (aka southwest injury) on that tender side. Zabriskie also notes that orientation should be considered when transplanting other ornamental plants like shrubs, cacti and agaves. I’m glad Zabriskie brought this up because I’m concerned that winter sunscald is a much bigger problem for our trees than we realize, and not just for new transplants. What’s more, it’s preventable with a few simple steps. Have you ever noticed bark buckling off the tree trunk? Or blisters on the southwest side of the trunk while the other side looks fine? Go outside and take a look for yourself. Sometimes the differences are shocking…

Salem, Oregon, Statesman-Journal, January 23, 2020: Illegal trimming destroys street trees at Gatti property, famous for holiday light display

For nearly four decades, lawyers Dan and Richard Gatti helped the community get into the holiday spirit each year, lighting up their business at the Y intersection of Liberty and Commercial streets NE, with thousands of Christmas lights and decorations. But now, the brothers’ devotion to their little corner of the city has them in hot water. Over the most recent holiday season, people driving past the building also were greeted with a half-dozen topped trees — including four on city property. Experts say trees should never be topped, which removes most of the branches. And city code prohibits anyone from trimming or removing city-owned trees without a permit. The light display went on hiatus in 2018, when the law firm moved to a new building downtown, but a new tenant brought a limited version back last year. The brothers still own the building, as well as another on the property and one across the street. In an interview, Richard Gatti said he hired a contractor to do general work around the properties, and asked him to tidy up the trees, which were blocking the sidewalk as well as views of the lights. “Dan and I always want to keep things in great shape for people who go see the Christmas display, or for normal people going down the sidewalk,” Gatti said. “Those trees haven’t been maintained in a long time.” Unfortunately, Gatti didn’t notify the city, get a permit, hire a licensed tree service, or specify exactly what should be done. “Do I know that we’re not supposed to be trimming their trees without approval? I suppose I knew that, but I thought, well, I was doing mine,” Gatti said… Tree topping, also called heading or tipping, is the removal of a majority of a tree’s branches. It’s one of the worst things one can do to a tree, according to the Oregon Department of Forestry…

San Diego, California, Union Tribune, January 23, 2020: Tree trimmer injured at University City hotel when palm uproots, falls with him in it

A tree trimmer working 30 feet up a palm tree inside a University City hotel was injured Thursday morning when the tree uprooted and fell over with him tied to it, his supervisor said. The accident occurred a little before 11 a.m. while workers were removing several caryota palm trees at Embassy Suites by Hilton San Diego-La Jolla, according to Joe Jaha, a supervisor with Arbor West Tree Surgeons. San Diego emergency personnel initially reported that a guest was struck by a falling tree at the hotel on La Jolla Village Drive near the Westfield UTC shopping center. Jaha said the worker who was injured was a “very experienced tree trimmer” and climber who was about 30 feet up the 40 foot tree. “Unexpectedly, the tree uprooted, and he went down with the tree,” Jaha told OnScene TV and other reporters. “We inspected the trees before we started. They looked healthy, just shallow rooted … He didn’t fall out of the tree, he fell with the tree.” Medics took the victim to Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla. The worker sustained a broken leg, broken arm and cuts to his face, according to Luke Brown, a spokesman for the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration. He was treated at the hospital and released by 4 p.m…

Manchester, Connecticut, Journal Inquirer, January 23, 2020: Tree warden hears comments on plan to cut 121 trees at golf course

A mix of golfers and conservation-oriented residents met at the Public Works Facility on Wednesday to debate a proposal that would remove 121 trees near the 13th hole of the Manchester Country Club. The public hearing was called by Public Works Field Services Superintendent Kenneth Longo, who operates as the town’s tree warden, after residents asked for it. The club received an inland wetlands permit for the project from the Planning and Zoning Commission in November. A dozen or so residents showed up at the hearing. Matt Gomes, director of operations for the Manchester Country Club, said the work would remove 121 trees on the south side of the 13th hole that are encroaching on the fairways, the greens, and the tees. The project aims to reduce shade and improve the quality of the turf, he said. “This is a maintenance issue that should have been taken care of decades ago,” Gomes said. He said golf courses across the country are dealing with similar encroachment issues and have to conduct periodic tree removal to keep their courses healthy. Gomes said that the country club leases the land from the town, so it has a responsibility to maintain the course…

New York City, Staten Island Advance, January 23, 2020: Advance gets action: Dangerous leaning tree in Charleston being removed

A tree in Charleston, which is damaged and leaning over Winant Place, is a danger to motorists, said a Charleston resident who has been trying to get the tree removed. When first contacted by the Advance, the Parks Department issued a statement regarding the criteria for tree removal. After the Advance again reached out to the Parks Department, the agency said it was working to remove the tree the following day. In an initial email to the Advance, the Charleston resident said he’d witnessed multiple crashes into the tree, which was hanging over Winant Place between Arthur Kill Road and Kreischer Street. Online city data shows there have been 10 motor vehicle accidents since 2017 on Winant Place between Arthur Kill Road and Kreischer Street, however, the data does not indicate if a tree was involved in any of the accidents. Since December, four complaints have been made to the city’s online 311 portal, city records show. On the Parks Department website it asks resident to report if a tree is “leaning, uprooted, or has fallen down” or if “a tree is alive, but is in poor or declining condition.” All four complaints were closed out the following day, the data shows, with the comment, “no action was taken because the Department of Parks and Recreation determined the issue is out…”

Albany, New York, Times Union, January 23, 2020: A fascinating tree, once you get to know it

The leaves were an odd shape, I noticed while we waited for the realtor. Not a maple or oak or ash or any other tree I knew. We bought the house, but not because of the tree. “It’s a gingko,” my mother-in-law told us when she saw the leaves that had defied my identification. You never know what you’re getting from a house, from a marriage, from a city or from a tree until you live with them for a while. We learned during our first fall with the gingko. When those distinctive-shaped leaves turned bright yellow and the tree reached like a golden sword into a blue autumn sky. But the gingko show wasn’t done. Because the leaves fall almost all at once, in the space of an hour or two. You can lay on your back in the grass and watch those golden leaves drift down on you. Gingko morning has become a minor family holiday in our house. We watch the thermometer and when it’s cold enough, the first rays of morning light trigger the leaves and we watch the cascade. The gingko is there for us on other, warmer mornings as well. When my mother, daughter and I sit on the porch with mugs of coffee and hot chocolate and watch a white-breasted nuthatch take sunflower seeds from our feeder and hide them in the ginkgo’s bark…

Weather Underground, January 22, 2020: Marcescence: Why Some Trees Keep Their Leaves in Winter

I love to walk through the woods at all times of the year. Fall is so wonderful because of the change in the colors of the leaves, and as we head toward winter, the deciduous trees pretty much shed their leaves and become bare—well, most of those trees. I often wondered why some of these trees seem to keep their leaves into early winter and some keep their leaves right through until the next spring. That process is known as marcescence, and it’s defined as the retention of dead plant organs that normally shed. In this case, it’s those leaves that are normally shed by deciduous trees in at the end of the growing season, in contrast to trees that are “evergreen” and do not shed their leaves (as shown in the image at top). The process of shedding leaves is really interesting and shows the intricate evolution of nature as a way to survive through all seasons. When the days grow shorter and the amount of sunshine available to leaves decreases, the process that makes food for the trees ends. Chlorophyll begins to break down, the green color disappears, and we get those splendid colors of the fall before most trees drop their leaves. The process of leaf drop is also a neat little trick of nature. At the base of their stem (referred to as the petiole), leaves have a zone called the abscission layer, located near the branch to which they are attached…

Minneapolis, Minnesota, KARE-TV, January 22, 2020: Minneapolis city staff work to prevent salt impact on trees

In a busy downtown Minneapolis, keeping roads and sidewalks clear during winter is critical. “You got to keep it clear,” said property manager Robert Schroeder. “We salt sidewalks, but we make sure to limit it.” He limits his salt usage because of the harm it can cause to the hundreds of trees planted downtown. “That is going to affect them,” said Robert. Dozens of trees have died downtown according to the Downtown Improvement District and a salty diet may be to blame for a good portion. “We believe one of the things that lead to challenge downtown in growing trees is salinity in the soil,” said Ben Shardlow, director of urban design for the Downtown Improvement District. He says tree survival rates have actually improved, but he’s still working to educate everyone. “In many cases property owners and managers can reduce the amount of salt by about 50%,” said Shardlow. Environmental Consultant Connie Fortin says homeowners should pay attention too and look for alternatives so they can ‘salt smarter.’ “If we can be a little bit patient we can use a lot less salt or if we invest in newer technologies we can use a lot less salt,” said Fortin. “Lets make smart decisions…”

Vancouver, British Columbia, January 22, 2020: ‘Death warrant’ for majestic maple trees near UBC sparks controversy

Residents in the University Endowment Lands, a small, unincorporated community tucked between Vancouver and the University of B.C., are dismayed by plans to axe dozens of large maple trees in the area. Chris Wall, who has lived for 17 years on the same block as many of the broad, leafy trees, said he fears the community administrators are committed to seeing them gone despite what residents think about the idea. “The death warrant’s been signed,” Wall said in an interview this week. “We don’t have a lot of time.” Wall said residents have started a petition aimed at reversing what they see as an arbitrary decision to remove the trees, and he said some are prepared to go as far as chaining themselves to the trees to keep them standing. Jonn Braman, the manager of the endowment lands, said he believes the trees are putting people at risk and for that reason he has told community members they need to be replaced…

Manchester, New Hampshire, Union Leader, January 22, 2020: Tacos, anyone? Iguanas are falling from trees, and people are selling the meat online

Mango season may be months away, but if you live in South Florida today, your trees may be ripe for the picking — of iguanas. Iguana meat, dubbed “chicken of the trees,” started showing up on Facebook Marketplace overnight, as the temperature dipped into the 40s. The green iguanas are an invasive species, stunned lifeless by South Florida’s occasional cold snaps, and they die if the chilly weather holds. The National Weather Service even tweeted to watch out for falling iguanas. That apparently makes them easy pickings for backyard harvesters. Several ads for skinned and butchered iguanas, looking like Peking not-duck, were posted in Miami, Doral and Homestead. Some of the ads, however, were posted days ago and show iguana meat that has clearly been frozen (though not by South Florida’s climate). At least one ad showed what looked like freshly prepped garrobo — a name often used as interchangeable for iguana in parts of Latin America. (The animals may be slightly different species, but both are often found as invasive in South Florida.) But can you actually eat them, or should you? You absolutely can — as long as the food comes from a reputable processor, according to the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. They are commonly hunted in Central and South America and parts of the Caribbean and are an “economical source of protein,” according to the organization’s post…

New York City, WABC-TV, January 21, 2020: Should Pawling Tree Be Saved?

Seven years ago, 7 On Your Side helped save a towering tree in a New York town from being torn down. Now, it’s being targeted again. For more than 30 years, the soaring Spruce tree has stood next to the train tracks in the Dutchess County town of Pawling, and each year, it takes center stage for “Decemberfest.” But during the tree lighting last month, village residents were told to say goodbye to the 45-foot tall tree. According to Pawling’s Chamber of Commerce, the tree is dead, rotting and dangerous. This isn’t the first time the town has tried to cut down the tree, and seven years ago, the mayor wanted it gone to make way for public toilets. But townsfolk and advocates rallied to save the tree. Jacob Voudren was 10 year old when he appeared in our 7 On Your Side broadcast… Fast forward to 2020, and Jake is now a high school senior who once again finds himself fighting to save the tree. “Unless the tree was very sick, it would be respected for the heritage it has in this town,” he said. Pawling Mayor Robert Liffland said the trees branches cannot hold lights, and other town officials also want the tree gone…

Salem, Massachusetts, Patch, January 21, 2020: Salem Wants Residents To Pick Places For Tree Planting

Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll and the Salem Tree Commission have established the Century Tree Program, a new initiative tied to Salem 400, Salem’s quadrennial celebration, which aims to plant the next generation of heritage trees at suitable locations throughout Salem for future residents to enjoy for decades to come. Salem residents are invited to submit their suggestion for potential sites for Century Trees by emailing the location to centurytree@salem.com. The City’s Tree Warden will review the proposed locations to select the most appropriate ones for plantings that will, we hope, grow and flourish throughout the 21st century and, potentially, beyond. Each Century Tree will be designated with a plaque commemorating its planting. A heritage tree is usually recognizable by its age, rarity, and size, as well as aesthetic, botanical, ecological, or its historical value. Salem is planning ahead and identifying now sites where residents may enjoy seeing a grand tree growing through the 21st century…

Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Argus Leader, January 21, 2020: City-led trimming of street trees would cost taxpayer millions, parks department says

For decades, Sioux Falls property owners have been tasked with keeping branches that hang over sidewalks primped. And new data released this week by the Sioux Falls Parks and Recreation Department, charged with administering Project T.R.I.M. (Tree Raising Improvement Methods), says abolishing that policy and instead using city workers to keep sidewalk trees trimmed would come with a hefty price tag for taxpayers. At the request of Councilor Theresa Stehly, who for years has griped about the city putting the burden of keeping trees trimmed on property owners, the parks office used a six-block area to study the cost of doing the work in house. In total, it took city crews about 44 labor hours to finish trimming the pilot area, which included 172 individual properties. That work resulted in about $9,900 in staff and equipment costs. Sioux Falls park operation manager Kelby Mieras said with about 12,000 properties in the yearly Project T.R.I.M. coverage area, the city would expect an annual cost of about $688,527 if property owners no longer had to do the work themselves…

San Francisco, California, KPIX-TV, January 21, 2020: Aging San Francisco Ficus Trees Causing Standoff Between City, Residents

Dozens of aging Ficus trees in San Francisco are posing a public safety risk, the city says. Residents are fighting to keep the streets green, but trying to keep the dying trees might actually prevent the city from getting new ones planted. San Francisco’s Civic Center Plaza is a place where any number of the challenges facing San Francisco are in near sight. One that may not jump out immediately, however, is the trouble in the trees. The Ficus trees in the city are not only old, they have been prone to failure since the most recent drought. Those trees are now of particular concern because in 2016, voters made the city responsible for the 125,000 trees that line city streets. “They’re now responsible if those trees now fall and hurt someone,” said Dan Flanagan of the Prop E aftermath. Flanagan is the Executive Director of Friends of the Urban Forest, San Francisco’s partner in the tree business. “There’s been an online petition with close to 5,000 signatures trying to save the Ficus,” says Michael Nulty, one of the petition supporters. Downtown, the Ficus trees circle the Main Library. In the Mission, it’s the Ficus trees that line 24th Street. “You tell me, doesn’t the trees behind me make this place look a lot better,” asks Luis Gutierrez, owner of La Reyna Bakery. In both cases, the city says the trees are a safety hazard and require removal. This, happening in a city that could certainly use more trees…

San Diego, California, Union-Tribune, January 20, 2020: A tree grows — and grows — in San Diego. Is this a problem?

Trees: menace to society or beautiful ally in the fight against climate change? In the Kensington neighborhood, San Diego authorities recently marked at least a half dozen landmark pepper trees — each more than a century old — for removal. On Monday, the first was reduced to a sawdust-covered stump. “Public safety is paramount,” said Anthony Santacroce, the city’s senior public information officer, arguing that each marked tree is structurally unsound, buckling the adjacent sidewalk or both. “The removal of trees is obviously not something we take lightly. We don’t want to hurt neighborhood aesthetics.” That’s precisely what the city is doing, argued Maggie McCann, a systems engineer whose Craftsman-style bungalow is shaded by one of the imperiled peppers. In San Diego Superior Court on Tuesday, McCann won a 21-day temporary restraining order against further removals. Why take out perfectly healthy trees?” she asked. From San Diego to midtown Manhattan, cities face an arbor of competing goals. “Urban forests” are invaluable, from acting as carbon dioxide sinks and creating shady sanctuaries on hot days. Like all living things, though, trees are complex. They come with costs and hazards, from broken sidewalks and clogged storm drains to — in extreme cases — crushed cars and mangled residents, victims of fallen branches and trunks…

Beaumont, Texas, Enterprise, January 20, 2020: Encroaching tree may be root of trouble down the road

Q: My neighbor has a huge tree, and the roots from that tree are causing my driveway to crack. Parts of my driveway already need to be replaced. Can I be held liable if I were to cut the roots, thus causing my neighbor’s tree to die?
A: Under the law, you do have the right to cut the roots of a neighbor’s tree that encroaches onto your property. But there is also the chance you could be held liable if the tree dies. If you decide to cut the roots, the tree will not likely die quickly. It will probably be years before the tree starts showing the effects of your actions. By then, it might be difficult to determine what had happened to cause the tree to die. To force you to pay for any damages you might have caused years earlier, your neighbor would need to sue you. Your defense would be that you had to cut the roots to prevent damage to your property. Fortunately, it is highly unlikely your neighbor will sue you over a dead tree…

Brain Pickings, January 20, 2020: Calculating the incalculable: Thoreau on the true value of a tree

More than two years after a fire started by a teenage boy destroyed 47,000 acres of old-growth forest in Oregon’s Columbia River Gorge, having just resolved to face the new year like a tree, I found myself on the brink of tears before the blackened trunk of an ancient ponderosa pine as I walked the sylvan scar tissue of the tragedy. A conversation with my hiking companion — a dear friend currently working with the Navajo Nation on preserving and learning from their own ecological inheritance — led to the impossible question of how we can even begin to measure the loss: What is a tree worth? Not its timber, not its carbon offset value, but its treeness — the source of the existential wisdom Whitman celebrated, the mirror Blake believed it holds up to a person’s character, its silent teachings about how to love and how to live and what optimism really means. The teenager who decimated this green tapestry of belonging was ordered to pay $36.6 million in restitution — a number that staggers at first, but only until one considers the nearly 4,000,000 leaved and rooted victims of the crime, and the many more millions of creatures for whom the forest was home, and even the occasional insignificant human animals who, like my friend and I, bathed in these ancient trees to wash away the sorrows of living…

Portland, Oregon, KOIN-TV, Activists say beloved Portland tree doomed by development (Jan. 20)

The man named Merlin wrapped his home around a tree, and lived happily – until the forces of change came calling. It sounds like something ripped from the pages of “The Overstory,” the recent Pulitzer Prize winning novel that features a subplot about a Portlander fighting to save a strand of trees from city saws. But unlike Richard Powers’ fiction, this story is true. Longtime residents will remember Merlin Radke for his auto parts store, which closed its doors in 2015 after more than 80 years in business. Radke built several homes on his secluded property at 6285 N. Fessenden St., including one with the bole of the tree branching through the roof. On his death, the property was deeded to Warner Pacific College, according to local activists with the Tree Emergency Response Team. It seems the institution didn’t have much interest in the property. Multnomah County property tax records show the lot is owned by Fish Construction NW, who purchased the land last year for $470,000. Here’s where the story gets complicated. “Normally when you think of trees that are about to be cut down — you immediately think, ‘oh, it’s the developer’s fault,’” says Ashley Meyer, a project coordinator for the response team. “That’s what Captain Planet taught us.” But developer Jeff Fish is well known for his commitment to building affordable starter homes aimed at first-time buyers…

Portland, Maine, Press-Herald, January 19, 2020: Clones help famous elm tree in Yarmouth live on, for now

A massive elm tree nicknamed Herbie is long gone, but it is going to live on, thanks to cloned trees that are being made available to the public. At 110 feet and more than 200 years, Herbie was the tallest and oldest elm in New England and survived 14 bouts of Dutch elm disease because of the devotion of his centenarian caretaker, Frank Knight, the late tree warden of Yarmouth. The duo became famous after Knight spent half of his life caring for the tree, which he referred to as “an old friend.” Knight realized he couldn’t save the town’s elms as they succumbed by the hundreds to Dutch elm disease. So he focused his efforts on one of them: Herbie. Over five decades, Knight oversaw selective pruning of Herbie’s diseased limbs, and applications of insecticides and fungicides. The pair became well known, both in Yarmouth and beyond, thanks to international news coverage. The tree was cut down Jan. 19, 2010, as the 101-year-old Knight looked on. Knight died two years later. But before Herbie was chopped down, the Elm Research Institute in New Hampshire worked with Knight to collect some cuttings from Herbie to preserve the tree’s legacy with clones…

Bend, Oregon, Bulletin, January 19, 2020: Tree felling project planned for Camp Sherman

The Sisters Ranger District in the Deschutes National Forest is planning to cut down up to 500 trees to clear a 20-foot-wide corridor for an existing electrical line in one Central Oregon’s most popular recreational areas. The project is located in the vicinity of Camp Sherman and County Road 1102 (Indian Ford Creek), according to a release from the U.S. Forest Service. Around 13 miles of forest area will be affected by the project, equal to about 40 acres of potential impact. Camp Sherman is a resort area 40 miles northwest of Bend. The area contains a number of small, low-key resorts and is well known for fishing and swimming in the cold waters of the Metolius River. The electrical line is owned by the Central Electric Cooperative Inc., a member-owned nonprofit that has provided electric utility services to its members in Central Oregon since 1941. Around 80 miles of CEC power lines are located in the Deschutes National Forest. “Due to recent wildfires in California and other states, the utility companies have a heightened sense of clearing right-of-way areas around electrical lines,” said Ian Reid, Sisters district ranger…

Tampa, Florida, Tampa Bay Times, January 19, 2020: As Seas Rise, a Florida Keys ‘Ghost Forest’ Makes A Last Stand

On a stretch of the Lower Keys, near an old borrow pit quarried during the construction of Big Pine, sea water and mud cover much of the rocky ground. Poisonwood trees, whose sap was used by the Calusa to poison enemies, grow along the pit’s high berm. Clumps of pink-flowered pride-of-Big Pine, one of the planet’s most imperiled plants and found only in the Keys, also sprouts from the rare patch of high ground. There’s something else, more ominous, too: bleached pine tree stumps, rising like tombstones. A pine rockland forest once stood here, maybe a century ago. Not that long in tree years. The stumps still give off a sharp, tarry smell when gouged with a knife. Freshwater sawgrass could be found as recently as the 1990s. But now, it’s a stark and solemn warning about rising seas. “It’s really kind of pathetic,” said Florida International University forest ecologist Michael Ross, who’s been studying the Keys pineland since the 1990s. Just three decades ago, when he started studying the forests, healthy pineland grew on at least 10 islands. Today, the forests are thinning or gone. The only healthy tract stands on Big Pine…

Minneapolis, Minnesota, Minnesota Public Radio, January 20, 2020: Could cutting back on salt save downtown Minneapolis trees?

Minneapolis has planted hundreds of trees in the past few years in an effort to green up downtown, but many aren’t surviving past their first year. City staff have been trying to figure out why, and they think they might have found the culprit: salt. Soil tests show that salinity levels in some of the planting spots are much higher than what’s ideal for trees to thrive, said Ben Shardlow, director of urban design for the Minneapolis Downtown Council and the Downtown Improvement District. “I don’t think there is such a thing as tree autopsies, so we never know exactly for sure why a tree hasn’t done well,” Shardlow said. “But in a lot of spots, it’s been pretty normal for a tree to have to be replaced every year or two, again and again and again … It’s not the tree’s fault. It’s something to do with the ground that it’s growing in.” Salt is used liberally in downtown Minneapolis to keep sidewalks and parking lots clear of ice. After the ice melts, the extra salt left behind piles up or gets pushed to the side — sometimes directly into the places where the trees are trying to grow…

San Francisco, California, KPIX-TV, January 16, 2020: Federal Judge Threatens to Force PG&E to Hire More Tree Trimmers

A federal judge on Thursday threatened to force Pacific Gas & Electric to hire more tree trimmers to reduce the chances of its electrical grid igniting fires in Northern California and adhere to a requirement imposed after the utility’s natural gas lines blew up a neighborhood a decade ago. U.S. District Judge William Alsup notified PG&E he expects more precautions to be taken, a day after the San Francisco company acknowledged in a court filing that as many as 22,000 trees in its sprawling service territory may still be creating fire hazards. Those dangers are one reason the nation’s largest utility has resorted to deliberately turning off the power in dry, windy and hot conditions — a strategy that at one point left an estimated 2 million people without power in October. PG&E has said the deliberate blackouts could be a recurring event for the next decade while it spends billions of dollars to upgrade its outdated electrical grid. Alsup said he thinks that reliance on blackouts stems in part from PG&E’s tree-trimming shortcomings. The company said it will respond to Alsup by his Feb. 12 deadline. In its disclosure Wednesday to the judge, PG&E asserted it’s unrealistic to expect it to be able to ensure all trees are maintained in a way that ensures all the branches, leaves and other vegetation remain a safe distance from its transmission lines…

Chicago, Illinois, WLS-TV, January 16, 2020: Chicago Water Dept. tests tree-saving technology in Andersonville

More than a dozen trees in Andersonville are saved, thanks to a new pilot program the city of Chicago’s Water Department is implementing. “These mature trees are one of the most valuable things that we have to keep us healthy,” said Lesley Ames, Andersonville tree committee member. Last year, the water department was scheduled to complete routine sewage maintenance and drain removal. To do that, they’d have to cut down trees around the neighborhood, some of them more than 100 years old. “It seemed to us to be an abnormal number of trees,” Tamara Schiller said. Schiller is also a member of the tree committee and has lived in the neighborhood for more than 30 years. “There were ten trees alone on my block, so we started looking into it and said, ‘Isn’t there something else that could be done?'” Schiller said. “The more people found out about it, the more people came out into the street and wanted to find out what was going on,” Ames added. People like Ames an